Hello my fellow leaders!
Are you currently reading this and trying to get something else done at the same time???
How’s it working out?
I’ve always found myself trying to complete multiple tasks simultaneously. Unfortunately, I’ve rarely found myself completing those tasks how I imagined I would. Often instead of having multiple things accomplished, I simply have multiple mistakes I’ve made and need to redo everything all over again. For me it should be “multi-mistaking” not multitasking. When will I ever learn!?
Even now I am remembering I need to call a client back and want to try to call and write this at the same time. I tell myself, “I just want to be productive as possible.” I constantly fool myself into thinking, “this time will be different!” Have you been telling yourself the same thing? Take a couple of minutes to watch Paolo Cardini’s Ted Talk to get a quick snapshot of how multitasking went for him during a weekend barbecue. According to his speech only 2% of us can actually multitask successfully.
So could we be in that 2%? I did an experiment myself to see if I fell into that category.
I began at work by trying to do multiple things at the same time that needed to get accomplished. The idea of getting all four tasks done at once was exhilarating; however, the act of it was stressful and worrisome. I found myself spending more time double checking and triple checking the simplest things because I couldn’t remember half of what I had already accomplished. In addition to that I would have to constantly remind myself of where I left off when I would jump from one task to the other. My findings from my test on multitasking = I’m the WORST at multitasking (But very good at multi-mistaking).
However, I was not ready to give up yet!
So multitasking at work didn’t go as planned. And to be honest the last 24 years of my working life (I started a failed landscaping company at age 8 called “One Boy and a Lawnmower”) I’ve consistently failed whenever it came to multitasking on the job. Fortunately, my experiment didn’t stop there. I wanted to see if there was anything I could succeed in multitasking at home. Luckily, this is where I found my “multitasking magic.”
Through multiple trial and errors I found that there were a few activities where I was able to successfully multitask…
- Audio Book Breakfast – My new morning routine is to make my breakfast and eat it while listening to an audio book. I always felt guilty if I didn’t listen to my audio books each day and have always heard, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” So I now feed both my body and my mind simultaneously each morning.
- Treadmill Tasking – my next multitasking success should have dawned on me way earlier than it did. Like most things our parents do and tell us, we don’t listen for a long, long, long time. My mom has always tried to find ways to exercise while getting work done. I now spend some of my morning “busy work” time walking on the treadmill. I’ll be on my phone sending emails, responding to messages, etc. and the next thing I know I’ve walked 2-3 miles and didn’t even realize it. I’m actually walking on the treadmill as I’m writing this. Thanks mom! 🙂
- Power Walking and Power Talking – this is something I’ve started doing as well with great success and personal satisfaction. I’ve begun mixing early morning (6am or so) phone calls with clients, friends, family, etc. with my time on the treadmill. I’ve gotten so much accomplished with people while getting some mild excessive in as well. I have utilized my time much better since I started doing this and no longer have the guilt of not doing at least some mild physical activity each morning. I actually now look forward to my “Multitasking Power Walk.”
My challenge to you my fellow leaders is to discover (using safety, caution, and common sense please) ways you can multitask on a regular basis. If there are areas of life that you simply can’t do it then simply stop trying. We can’t go through life doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Although multitasking is more of an “urban legend” than a real world application give it a shot!
I look forward to your continued success and new discoveries in multitasking! Enjoy your day!
— James R. Schleicher