Doing Less Really Is More

Doing Less Really Is More

By Vitiello Communications Group

Multitasking may be hazardous to your career. So says the findings of a Stanford University study.

According to researchers, people who are regularly bombarded with streams of electronic information do not pay attention, recall details or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time. In fact, people who juggle multiple messages from multiple sources will not store, organize or remember information as well as those who don’t. This means if you are reading this blog while talking on the phone or sending a text message, you could be causing cognitive impairments that may impact your overall performance.

While these findings may seem extreme, one thing is for sure: contrary to popular belief, multitasking makes us less effective and not as efficient.

So how can busy business leaders maximize productivity and stave off the urge to multitask? First, you need to identify when you multitask. If you have multiple tabs open on your computer or if you frequently check email while working on a project, you are multitasking. Next, you need to take steps to break the habit. Here are some tips:

  • Establish “block times” on your calendar for returning emails, making phone calls or working on high-priority projects. Make sure to add empty blocks for spur-of-the-moment urgent matters.
  • Make a to-do list. Try breaking up bigger projects into manageable tasks that can be readily accomplished in one sitting.
  • Track interruptions. If email notifications are distracting, disable them. If certain colleagues regularly stop by your office to solicit input on non-urgent matters, suggest a time to meet with them that is better for you.
  • Take short breaks between tasks.

If you are interrupted, note where you are at with the task at hand before moving on to the next. This will help you regain your focus on the first task when time permits.

Where multitasking is concerned, slowing down and doing less at any one time may actually result in you doing more. Leave a comment to let us know what you do to minimize interruptions and stay on track.

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