A dozen Sr. Executives wandered back into the boardroom, plates filled with salads, chicken, fruit – the usual. The aroma of cookies though, is of course, the first one I noticed (gets me every time).
I was invited to speak about “balance” - the need to take care of yourself, along with the seemingly ever-increasing demands of corporate life.
Great topic and one I love to share.
Those in the group started to discuss some of the things they do, and the subject of multitasking came up, with several sitting quite smugly, grins on their faces, with pride about their mastery in the “art.”
I could totally relate to what they were saying, as I proudly wore my own “multitasking” badge of honor for most of my adult life.
Yet there’s strong “science” that makes the “art” resemble an abstract Picasso more than a police artist sketch.
Contrary to what we’ve told ourselves about how efficient we are, multitasking is not a virtue - not a positive attribute at all.
The chief problem with multitasking is that it splits your attention.
Research going back over 30 years consistently shows we are far less efficient when we try to focus on more than one thing at a time. If you have any doubts, here’s a nice short article that lists common research findings – none of them very positive.
The Good News…
What you really want is to achieve multiple goals with the same activity, not with simultaneous multiple activities.
You can make conscious choices to do so with something called “Multiplying.”
I find the best way to describe the concept is with examples of some common challenges I often hear from clients, and as you might expect, they include making healthy lifestyle choices.
- Want more time with loved ones? Change the way you spend time with others.
- Involve your family (or invite friends) for an afternoon of preparing several meals for the week. Time together and healthy food ready for the week ahead.
- Make a date to hike or walk or run or shoot hoops together. Time together and that exercise you’ve been talking about doing.
- Desire more time alone, more “me” time? Sometimes this can be accomplished with a little change in attitude when you’re doing things (this sounds like a stretch – but give it a try – you might just find yourself pleasantly surprised). You can run errands, get exercise and “me time.” Run errands alone, parking in the furthest spot from shop entrances. Take a moment to breathe and use all your senses to observe your surroundings as you make your way to the store and back. Time alone, errand(s) complete and exercise.
- No time for exercise? Need to connect with a colleague or two? Skip texting, emailing or phoning and try a walking meeting. Just walk around the building – inside or out. You’ll all benefit from the movement, avoid office distractions, clear your heads and be able to focus on the task at hand.
Make sense? One activity - multiple goals achieved.
I welcome your questions and comments. Simply Comment and I’d be happy to respond. Know someone who’d like this – please pass it along.
Wishing you “multiplying” success!