I feel proud to carry out multitasking well and do it often on daily basis. It may seem to be a useful skill but believe me it’s dangerous at times.
Few weeks ago I had to cancel a critical business meeting due to non availability of the meeting room. I notified and apologized via email.
There was a major mistake – the subject line. It should be ‘cancelling our today’s meeting’ but it was ‘cencalling today’s meeting’. Though it was a typo error and later I defend myself that spell check doesn’t work on subject line.
The fact is, that it happened due to multitasking, executing many tasks at the same time surprisingly most of the receivers didn’t notice that, probably due to their multitasking. 🙂
I consider multitasking a disease , an addiction that promises to get mostt of your time and leads fruitful results.
How many of you practice more than it is required?
How many of you wish, not to do so?
And , How many of you have faced it’s consequences? I am sure you have missed attachments in your mail or missed a stakeholder’s name by not marking him in cc . Even giving a long pause while on client call , coz you were either chatting on IM or planning a tea break after the call .
I asked above questions in my last team meeting , I was happy , I was not the only one . Phew!!!
Doing several things at once is a trick we play on ourselves, thinking we’re getting more done. In reality we are reducing our productivity by 40% . We don’t actually multitask. We switch-task, rapidly shifting from one thing to another, interrupting ourselves not productively, and losing time in the process.
You might think you’re different, that you’ve done it so much you’ve become good at it. Practice makes a man perfect and all that.
But you’d be wrong. In contrast to almost everything else in your life, the more you multitask, the worse you are at it. Practice, in this case, works against you.
I decided to experiment, a shorter one. I had back to back meetings few days back, starting from noon till evening. Earlier I would have been under stress, recalling all the artifacts and managing lunch in b/w .But this time I just tried to focus. I put my ‘soul mate’ on silent mode,.
FYI , I call my mobile phone my soul mate 🙂 🙂 , coz it sticks with me every time. And by silent mode I mean – the light only mode. Surprisingly I got hold of so many things.
- Stress level dropped. When you reassure to finish one thing before going to next you feel liberated.
- You gain tremendous patience, for things that were useful and enjoyable. You listen to the presenter with no rush. When you are brainstorming about a difficult problem, you stick to it, so nothing else competes for your attention and you will be able to concentrate on the one thing you were doing.
- You loose all patience for things you feel were not a good use of your time. A meandering pointless conversation was excruciating. Texting through SMS seems rude between meetings.
- There is no downside. I had to attend all the meetings in 6 hrs and that includes my lunch time. I may have finished them doing multitasking, while attending a meeting and making a list to discuss in next, may be sending a note to my client. But then I wouldn’t have focused on the ongoing meeting. As I was experimenting with myself , I analyzed that I completed everything in same time and enjoyed supper though not lunch delightfully as there was nothing else to engage my mind and attention 🙂
Sometimes, it is simply impossible to resist a little multitasking, but it must be done.
But if you wanna improve time management in this multitasking world. Here are 10 important tips by Penelope Trunk.
Would love to know about your experiences ? Please drop a note.