Communication essentials: multitasking

Here in the states, Thanksgiving week is staring us in the face. Meaning a lot of folks are trying to wrap up and prepare for time off with friends and family. And to do this they are likely finding themselves multitasking – doing two, even three things at once.

But interesting enough … they really aren’t. Even if they think or say they are. Because there is no such thing as multitasking, as I just found out.

I was participating in a focus group and the facilitator sent out a prep email and asked that we not have our phones on or windows on our computer open – in other words, “… please avoid multitasking.” But he ended that point by saying, “There is no such thing as multitasking anyway.”

As someone who has multitasked – and been proud of it – I had to do a little research for myself. And it turns out … he’s right. There is no such thing as multitasking! It’s our brains playing tricks on us. Or, as the article I’m featuring today points out – our ego playing tricks on us.

Multitasking … or avoiding it, I should say, is today’s ‘communication essential.’

“This is how your ego tricks you into thinking multitasking is productive.”
Deanna Murphy, Ph.D., CEOworld Magazine

The article I’m featuring today will blow your mind – and I’m not kidding. The biggest takeaway? When we think we’re multitasking … we’re actually impeding our productivity and losing hours in the day. Three hours to be exact (over the course of an average eight-hour workday).

Why does this matter to the readers of this blog? Well, as you know, I have been a bit of a broken record when it comes to assuming leadership. We all have the chance to lead. But today I’m talking specifically to those in management and leadership positions who not only multitask but may encourage or evaluate others on their ability to “do it well.” However, maybe we’ve been looking at multitasking all wrong. And if so, it’s up to us to understand it, stop it, model it and save our teams from it.

How long will we allow teams to associate productivity and efficiency with “busyness”? As the focus of leadership shifts more to assuming responsibility for our teams’ mental health, we need to be the ones truly driving this movement toward mental awareness and mindfulness. In other words, ignore our egos and do what truly is best for our organizations – and the people who make them special.

So stop multitasking for a minute and read. Do you agree? Is this as critical as I think it is? Would love to hear from you!