In this first blog of May 2021, the topic of one productivity blocker is discussed. With emails, texts, social media curiosities, the news, and many other distractions, it can be difficult to stay on task. Therefore, some people in specific environments choose to multi-task instead.
A few blogs ago, the idea of mindset was considered. Simply put, the brief writing was on how to extend the mind from current thoughts, actions, and circumstances to move into zones that are more productive and constructive, to perhaps accomplish more. The concept of accomplishing more, does not necessarily mean perfectionism, having to always be recognized, to compete with others or even to become the leader of the pack. What this simply means is to get done what is needed now or within allotted timelines.
The productivity blocker discussed today is multi-tasking. The ability to multi-task continues to be a buzzword sequence in business. Yet, it is important to be cautious when this mindset is adopted. Multi-tasking may offer some completion in the end; however, the chaos that sometimes accompany the method is oftentimes not worth the sense of achievement. This turmoil can even block joy.
Recent research on multi-tasking did not support the idea that it offers productivity. Instead, one study produced evidence that people who used this process were slower in their productivity based on their inability to focus on one project at a time. It does not matter how some individuals may think about the brain, the fact is the brain was designed to focus and interpret one thought at a time. No matter how much someone may try to change this process, this is its operational course. Another study conducted at the University of London also concluded that multi-tasking destroys IQ.
For people who believe that this method works, a suggestion is made here, to try to incorporate a scheduled multi-task process as a substitute.
A scheduled multi-task day may look like this…
- 8am-9am: Send or answer emails
- 9am-10:30: Task 1
- 10:30am-12pm: Task 2
- 12pm-1pm: Eat lunch then peruse social media if this is needed as part of the day
- 1pm-1:30pm: Respond to emails
- 1:30-2pm: Return phone calls
- 2pm-3pm: Task 3
- 3pm-4pm: Task 1
- 4pm-4:45pm: Task 2
- 4:45pm-5pm: Respond to emails. If no email to respond to, lock computer, then remove from work to begin the evening.
Leaders, if a different work schedule is followed, it is still important to schedule out tasks. In addition, if there are less or more tasks to do, adjust the schedule as needed to meet deadlines. Also, if work requires a report to someone, be sure to discuss this new approach with this individual. Scheduled multi-tasking is a gentler and kinder approach to controlling overwhelmed feelings and confusion, which can often block productivity. Frankly, when it is suggested that people should multi-task without clear directions on how to do this, it has been argued and studied that this approach is often a recipe for calamity. Calamity that does not only appear at work, but likewise in the psyche of people who consistently implement this process.
Although current studies are focused primarily on how the brain functions for those who multi-task, there continue to be hopes of further research on whether this method is also physically damaging. If multi-tasking is a daily approach, consider other practices to complete everyday responsibilities. Holistic productivity is not always apparent in multi-tasking. On the contrary, unscheduled multi-tasking can be damaging in all aspects of work and life balance.