Multitasking is a myth (once we get round the gender stereotypes and the laughs they provide). Multitasking destroys your productivity and is a time management no-no.
I’m a great believer in self management (not time management), Time Blocks save time, “To-do” lists actually work, and most importantly I can’t see why people still try and tell me that they can multitask – they can’t!
See how many of the following you’re doing, possibly inadvertently, and then see how much your productivity increases as a result when you stop.
Your three point Stop Multitasking Checklist
This list will help productivity, but also help you get more from your relationships and personal wellbeing. If you would like to download a free guide to Time Management , it's free and waiting for you to download right now. Click here for instant access (email address required).
1: Checking your phone, whilst talking
I sat chatting, on and off, with somebody at a barbecue the other weekend; it was infuriating. In the end I turned it into a game, it was the let’s see how many times they would look at their phone more than chat to me game.
But being serious for a second, how do you feel when somebody does it to you? They’re chatting to you and then there’s the surreptitious glance to the phone to see if there’s a text, or to glance at Twitter. They think they’re being clever and you don’t know – really?
How about when somebody is a little less pretentious and just says “just let me answer this text”, maybe the first time its OK. After that, doesn’t it get plain annoying? They think more of their phone than of you.
So that’s damaging their relationship with you, but how does it affect their productivity? Well, do you really think that they’re learning all they can from your conversation? We already know that only a small percentage of communication comes from the words we speak, the rest is more subtle signals that they just missed out – because they were concentrating on their phone.
OK, it’s the honesty moment. How often do you do the same? Improve your productivity and relationships, ditch the multitasking myth and make the other person feel good, give them 100% of your attention. Your phone won’t notice, honest!
If you were on the receiving end of that you’d know, so do they.
2: Multitasking and interruptions
Imagine what happens when you’re concentrating on something, really thinking about it and engaging with it. You get more done, right?
What happens when you keep getting interrupted by your spouse, whilst trying to concentrate? I bet in the end you get annoyed.
So, you’re accepting that interruptions don’t help concentration. Why then do you have your smart-phone buzz every time you get a new email, LinkedIn message, tweet addressed to you…… You really don’t need to know the instant you get an all these things that your phone (or your computer) sends you.
If something is important enough for you to do, it’s more productive (and important enough) to do without interruptions. By focusing on what you’re doing you will get more from the task and do it more quickly. Switch off all the myriad of distractions you’ve programmed into your life, Social Media will still work without them – what’s more so will you, only more effectively.
You could always programme a break every 30 minutes if you thought Social Media was that critical. Attending to what you’re doing is more productive than attending to what other people might be doing.
Download our free guide to Time Blocking, it's free and waiting for you to download right now. Click here for instant access (email address required).
3: Meeting Multitasking Madness
Some meetings are amazing; I sit in them and learn loads about the subject and the people in them. I learn about sub agendas, hidden agendas, opportunities to improve relationships and ways to help people. I’m not especially clever, but sometimes I am the outstanding person in a meeting – simply by paying attention.
Then there are those meetings where I think about other things, let my mind wander, don’t concentrate…. These meetings are less productive.
I’m in control of how I act in meetings, so I’m in control of the productivity of them. So are you, meeting multitasking doesn’t work, don’t do it.
What other multitasking myths do you see and what’s you favourite way to improve personal productivity.