Have you ever found yourself on the receiving end of someone’s multitasking? You know what I mean. You are on the phone with someone, and you hear click clack click clack (because they have you on speaker phone). Obviously, they are trying to have a conversation with you and type something on their computer at the same time. So, they miss what you are saying, and they probably type in a line of your conversation to their report or email.
Or, you are sitting in their office, across the desk from them, and their eyes keep going to their computer screen. And you just know you have lost their attention.
Drives me nuts! Anyone who thinks they are saving time and being efficient needs to really examine that belief. Who’s time are you saving? Your own? Really? Have you looked at the time you spend fixing your errors? What about the fact that it can really take you three to five times longer to get something done when you are multitasking? Where did the time savings go?
One of the best productivity tips I ever heard was “if you cannot give it your full focus, don’t do it.” I know that when I am working with a client, I demand their full attention for the time we are working together. So, all smart phones get turned off, all distractions get set aside, and I will often schedule the meeting to be outside of their office – as another way to minimize the distractions and the temptation to multitask.
For the same reason, I have had to discipline myself to shut my laptop when I am on a phone call. Too many distractions possible with it open, and before I know it I have lost the thread of the conversation!
Here’s an experiment. Just try doing one thing at a time. Try it for an hour. Do one thing. Finish it. Then do the next thing. I bet you will be shocked at how much you get done. I bet you will also be shocked at how clear your mind is when you are only focusing on one thing at a time.