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Eliminate Multi-tasking - Achieve 28% Greater Productivity

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Dec 11, 2017

Multitasking-and-productivity-infographic.jpgWould you like your business to have a 28% increase in productivity in 2018?

Most businesses would!

The Plan is Simple.


To achieve 28% increase in across the board business productivity – get everyone on your team to quit multitasking!

In our last blog, The Big Lie REVISITED - Multitasking we shared Gary Keller, author of The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, one of the six lies about success, Multitasking, that keep us from living the One Thing:

  1. Everything Matters Equally
  2. Multitasking
  3. A Disciplined Life
  4. Willpower Is Always on Will-Call
  5. A Balanced Life
  6. Big Is Bad

 28% Productivity Gain?

Negative-Impact-Of-Multitasking.pngResearchers estimate that workers are interrupted every 11 minutes and then spend almost a third of their day recovering from these distractions.

Every time we try to do two or more things at once, we’re simply dividing up our focus and dumbing down all of the outcomes in the process. Here’s a short list of how multitasking short-circuits us:

  1. There is just so much brain capability at any one time. Divide it up as much as you want, but you’ll pay a price in time and effectiveness.
  2. The more time you spend switched to another task, the less likely you are to get back to your original task. This how loose ends pile up.
  3. Bounce between one activity and another and you lose time as your brain reorients to the new task. Those milliseconds add up. Researchers estimate we lose 28 percent of an average workday to multitasking ineffectiveness.
  4. Chronic multitaskers develop a distorted sense of how long it takes to do things. They almost always believe tasks take longer to complete than is actually required.
  5. Multitaskers make more mistakes than non-multitaskers. They often make poorer decisions because they favor new information over old, even if the older information is more valuable.
  6. Multitaskers experience more life-reducing, happiness-squelching stress.

The research is overwhelmingly clear.  It’s insane knowing how multitasking leads to mistakes, poor choices, and stress!  Workers who use computers during the day change windows, check e-mail, or other programs nearly 37 times!

Media multitaskers actually experience a thrill with switching—a burst of dopamine—that can be addictive. Without it, they can feel bored.

Still Not Convinced Are You?Mark Banke Apple iPhone Message.jpg

This past weekend I was in Vegas, planning the First Quarter of 2018 with one of my customers.  One of the leadership team, Joseph, loves the book, The One Thing.  But he disagrees with Keller’s Multitasking theory.  I’m still working on him, however, as you are probably aware, “A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still!”

After my last blog I received an email from a friend, Mark, an employee of one of my customers.  He mentioned his phone warns him now not to be driving (See Picture), just as my Waze navigation app warns me not to drive and look for directions.

My leadership team member, Joseph’s response?  “You can disengage that portion of the APP!” 

Let’s Allow Pilots and Surgeons to Multitask: NOT

a-team-of-ex-fighter-pilots-have-invented-a-new-way-for-surgeons-look-inside-brains.jpgMultitasking can be fatal when lives are at stake. We fully expect pilots and surgeons to focus on their jobs to the exclusion of everything else. Anyone in their position who gets caught doing otherwise should be taken severely to task. We accept no arguments and have no tolerance for anything but total concentration from these professionals.  And airline-pilot.pngyet, the rest of us are—live to another standard. Do we not value our own job or take it as seriously? Why would we ever tolerate multitasking when we’re doing our most important work? Just because your day job doesn’t involve bypass surgery shouldn’t make focus any less critical to our success or the success of others.

Your work deserves respect.

It may not seem so in the moment, but the connectivity of everything we do ultimately means that we each, not only have a job to do, but a job that deserves to be done well.

Think of it this way. If we really lose almost a third of our workday to distractions, what is the cumulative loss over a career? What is the loss to other careers? To businesses?

Losing It

When you think about it, if you don’t figure out a way to resolve this, you could in fact lose your career or your business. Or worse, cause others to lose theirs. On top of work, what sort of toll do our distractions take on our personal lives?

Ever see a couple dining, with one partner trying earnestly to communicate while the other is texting under the table? My heart aches when I see it!

Author Dave Crenshaw wrote, “The people we live with and work with on a daily basis deserve our full attention. When we give people segmented attention, piecemeal time, switching back and forth, the switching cost is higher than just the time involved. We end up damaging relationships.”

For The ONE Thing to work, you can’t buy into the lie that trying to do two things at once is a good idea. Though multitasking is sometimes possible, it’s never possible to do it effectively.

The-One-Thing_multi-tasking.pngPositioning Systems’ Strategic Discipline helps mid-sized($5M - $250M) business Scale-UP. More importantly, we’re experts at keeping The One ThingYour One Thing! Are you avoiding a conversation with yourself on how you can grow your business? Contact for expert help to Scale Up your business!  Or take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

Myth 1 Everything Matters Equally The One Thing.jpgEverything Matters Equally – Next Blog

You might argue when you multitask you’re making everything matter equally.  In reality, you’re losing concentration on what matters most.  If you feel you have to do every thing, and don’t value the Prioritization, join us next blog when we revisit Lie #1 Everything Matters Equally.

Topics: Multi-tasking, The One Thing, Multitasking, productive

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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
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