The most prevelant disease at the workplace?
Psychologists say that the most prevalent disease sweeping across the workplace start with an M: Multi-tasking. A study released by McKinsey* showed that jobs that were done by multi-tasking had twice the number of mistakes than those tasks done by single-tasking, and these tasks took on average 30% longer than single-tasking approaches.
Further studies show that the people who regularly do things by multi-tasking are impacted health-wise. It leads to high blood pressure, headaches, migraines, backaches, stomach aches and increases tension and stress. And when we are stressed we cannot think clearly. Permanent stress reduces our ability to make clear decisions, because permanent levels of stress, which are induced by multi-tasking, we have adrenaline and cortisol streaming through our body the whole time. And when this is the case, our field of vision drops to about 15% – 20%. This impacts not only what we see, but how well we can think and look at options and in the end, make decisions. When we are relaxed and focused on single tasks, our field of vision – how much we can see and how much we can think (creatively) – goes up to 75%.
15% or 75%? I’ll take 75% any day. Single-tasking is the antidote to multi-taking.
Many people believe that multi-tasking is heroic and makes them strong.
It is not; it’s counter-productive.
Here are a couple of tips to reduce multi-tasking:
- Block 90 minutes a day (better 2x a day – one block in the morning and one in the afternoon) where you can work uninterrupted. This means, among other things, that your mobile phone is not only silenced, but it’s in flight modus. Even better, according to researchers, it’s not even in your office. Your mobile phone is completely out of sight. Your email program is off, and you don’t let any chats in. You are focused 90 minutes, and you don’t let yourself be distracted.
- What’s really important to you? What meetings do you really need to take part in? Where do you need to be present, and where can you let go, so you have more time to focus?
- What do you do with mails in which you are in cc? Do you need to read them all? Do you just need to be informed? What can go in the bin?
- Prioritize your tasks using the Eisenhower Matrix.
- Reset. Go for a walk. Turn off your phone (flight modus). Get new energy. Gain clarity and sort your thoughts
Get out there and have a great week! Focus on reducing multi-tasking and on improving singe-tasking. It may mean making difficult decisions. And yes, every decision has consequences. What can you focus on? What can you do less of, so you can do more of the things which are important to you?
If you would like coaching support in this area, please get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org.