Category Archives: Efficiency

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business woman multitasking

5 reasons Why Multitasking is Inefficient, Ineffective, and Ultimately a Terrible Way to Work!

Let’s start with a challenge. You must participate exactly as instructed. Ready to start multitasking?

Here’s the challenge. Get a pen or pencil, a sheet of paper, and stopwatch. Your phone will do if it has a stopwatch feature. Do not read any further if you do not have all of these in hand.

Now that you have all three, hit start on your timer or stopwatch and write the word multitasking. Stop the timer as soon as you’ve finished. Do not read any further until you’ve finished this challenge.

How long did it take you? I’m going to venture a guess and say it took you between 5 and 7 seconds. Am I right? Yes, I’ve done this a few times.

Again, get your pen, paper, and stopwatch. Write the numbers 1 through 12 in order. Begin the timer when you start and hit stop when you’ve finished.  I bet it took you between 5 and 7 seconds. I’m right again, aren’t I?

Once again, get your pen, paper, and stopwatch. This time interchange the letters of the word multitasking with the numbers 1 through 12. Like this M 1 U 2 L 3 T 4….until you’ve written the whole word and all the numbers 1  through 12. Go! Did it take you about 30 to 35 seconds?

I’ve just debunked the theory of multitasking being a productive way to work.

While you were focused on one single task, whether it be writing the word or series of numbers, you were focused. On the other hand, while you were trying to accomplish two things at once, you were challenged to stay on track, to remember the next step. As a result, you probably even missed a letter or number. Didn’t you? So much for accuracy.

It actually took you 3 times the amount of time to accomplish the same two tasks when you tried to do them at the same time! Now that’s inefficiency! That’s multitasking!

Multitasking is the opportunity to mess multiple things up at once and take longer to do it!

Still unsure if I’m right? Try the next challenge.

Get your timer out again. Hit start and recite Mary Had a Little Lamb. Ready….go!

How long did it take you? About 4 to 5 seconds?

Again, reset your timer and hit start and recite Jack and Jill. It probably took you 4 to 6 seconds. Right? No, I’m not watching you. I’ve just trained organizations for years on how to be efficient, effective, and productive with their time.

Reset your timer. Hit start and recite Mary Had a Little Lamb and Jack and Jill, interchanging the works. Like this…Mary Jack Had And A Jill Little Went ….. Ready? Go!

How long did that take you? Could you even get half way through? Did you laugh? Were you frustrated? You probably just gave up. I’m willing to guess that you did all the above. I’m also certain that you didn’t accomplish what you set out to do.

Why? Because you were multitasking! How many mistakes did you make? And how many times did you hesitate? How did it make you feel? A little overwhelmed? Unsuccessful?

That’s exactly what multitasking does. Yet we are proud of our multitasking ability. We announce it on our resumes as if it were some great expertise that we’ve mastered. “Great at multitasking!”We make it a requirement in job postings. “Must be able to multitask.”

Requiring multitasking to be a skill for a job requirement is like demanding that someone throw their time and your money out the window as quickly as possible, and then, and only then, will you hire them.

If someone says they are great at multitasking, challenge them to these two examples. Or have them type up a 2-paragraph description of why they want to work for you…while you continue to talk to them.

Here are your top 5 reasons that multitasking is a waste of time and money.

It takes the average person approximately 5 minutes to refocus once they’ve been distracted.

While you’re responding to an email the phone rings. Rather than continuing to finish the task at hand, email,  you answer it, still distracted by the email. The caller needs something from you. Whether it’s to schedule an appointment, check the availability of a product, or just answer a basic question. Your mind must shift to fill their need. Once you’ve ended the conversation you now must shift your mind back to the email at hand….if you can remember what you were doing before the phone rang. How many times have you thought “now what was I doing?” It takes several minutes for your brain to adjust back to the previous task.

Multitasking is the opportunity to mess two things up at once.

Maybe you’re the person who continues to type while you have a phone conversation. How many times have you typed what you or the other person was saying? We’ve all done it. How about the last time you were talking on the phone and putting groceries away? Have you ever found something where it didn’t belong? That’s because you were multitasking.

It’s a complete waste of time.

Time is the most precious thing we have. We have no control over time, only control over our use of it. Why would you spend twice the amount of time or three times the amount of time to accomplish something? I challenge you to spend your day as you usually do, “multitasking”. Then, spend the next day doing things in blocks of time. Not possible? Sure it is. You can read more about The Top 6 Time Management Strategies That are Proven to work! here.

People will feel like you just don’t care.

I worked for a multitasker for two years. Every day it was the same routine. “How was your day Crystel?” As he looked through his phone, responded to texts and emails while responding to “my day” with mm hm’s and uh huh’s…..never looking up. Inevitably he would have to ask the same questions over and over again. Because he was multitasking. I certainly didn’t feel like he cared. It was as if I didn’t matter at all. Have you ever walked into a business and while waiting on you, the customer service person answered the phone and suddenly you were having a conversation through sign as they point to the card reader? How did that make you feel? Have you ever been in the middle of checking out of a doctors office and the receptionist answered the phone? You just became less important didn’t you?

Finally, there is no sense of accomplishment.

How often do you leave work thinking “I was so busy today but I didn’t get anything done!”? Well, you were right. You were busy alright, busy multitasking, not accomplishing. Have you ever left work feeling overwhelmed and you had nothing to show for all your efforts for the day? That’s because multitasking didn’t allow you to finish any one thing successfully.

So, the next time you pride yourself on multitasking or require multitasking as part of a role in your organization, think again, refocus on what the outcome should truly be and then focus until you’ve accomplished it, one thing at a time. If you truly want to be productive, efficient and feel accomplished. Stop multitasking and start managing your time with these Top 6 Time Management Strategies!

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Time Management

The Top 7 Time Management Strategies….That are Proven to Work!

I’ll get right to the point. You cannot manage time. Go ahead. Give it your best shot. It will never happen. It is unmanageable. Like it or not, we are all given the same 24 hours in a day. It comes and goes no matter what we choose to do during that 24 hours. So, if we cannot manage time how do we get more accomplished in less time or in the time allotted to make our accomplishments?

Therefore, you, my friend, must manage YOU! It may be tough to hear but I don’t share to make people feel better. I share to make people BE better.

Here are the facts. The average American lives to be 77 years old. That’s 4004 weeks. Yes, let that sink in. You may be blessed with many more years. However, since this is an average you may have less. By the age of 30 if you live to be 77 you have about 1924 weeks left.  Are you in your mid 40’s? You may have about 1664 weeks left. In your mid 50’s 1144 weeks. By age 65 (when most people retire) we have approximately 624 weeks of life left…if we live until we are 77.

Furthermore, subtract a number of hours you sleep, if you sleep 8 hours a day, and that only leaves about 417 weeks of living….of time. Once again, you can’t manage time. You must manage you and what you do with your time.

First of all, determine the value of your hour. If you’re a business owner and spending an hour gaining a new client would generate $1,000.00 in revenue why would you spend an hour driving to the bank, making a deposit and then driving back? What value is there to an hour of time with your family?

If you only had one hour to spend with them what would that be worth? Priceless right? Yet we spend countless hours on tasks that generate no true value. Sure, we can provide reason after reason for doing all the things we do throughout the day. “Someone has to to do it.” The reality is someone may have to do it but it may not HAVE TO be you.

2.Delegate, delegate, and then delegate some more. Make a list of all of your daily responsibilities. List them in order of most challenging to least challenging. Then drill down even further. Note the responsibilities that you enjoy doing, that come naturally to you. Finally, write the name of the person who has the talent and ability to do the least challenging and least enjoyable things. Then, let them do it! Remember, if your hour is worth $1,000.00 then paying someone $10.00 or even $20.00 an hour to accomplish some of your responsibilities is a great investment!

Schedule your success. This was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever accomplished in my career. A schedule? How could I? I had to generate new prospects, complete call logs, attend company meetings, collect financial data (tax returns, personal financial statements, Profit & Loss, Balance Sheets) analyze all of that data for every customer, for every business, write credit memos, complete applications, service loans, close loans, attend closings, converse with underwriters, attend networking meetings, review appraisals, support my administrative assistant,…the list went on and on.

As a result, I was overwhelmed on a daily basis. UNTIL I created my own schedule and I made the best use of my time. Beginning with blocking  time on a Google calendar (a recurring schedule that I would stick to every week) I scheduled blocks of time for email, blocks for making calls and returning messages. Also, I scheduled time for networking and time for financial analysis, and any other “paperwork”. Finally, I scheduled time for meeting clients. Then,  I stuck to the schedule.

Position your customers, clients, and anyone else who needs your time. Remember, it’s YOUR time.If someone wants to meet with you. Look at your calendar and schedule them during one of your “meeting time slots”. Most people relinquish their time to accommodate everyone else’s demands of their time. How often have you said “Sure, we can meet. What works for you?”

Consequently, you are giving them control over choosing what time you will give them and when. On the next occasion that someone wants to meet with you check your calendar and say “Sure, I have this day at this time or that day at that time. Which one works best for you?” Continue to offer them what YOU have available on YOUR schedule until something works for them.

Only check email 2 to 3 times per day. Do not check your email first thing in the morning or as the last thing before you leave. Sounds crazy huh? It did for me too. But this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Look, email is just a filing cabinet for other peoples’ agendas. And your time is valuable.

Position your clients, customers, and anyone else who emails or calls you. Set up auto responses on your email and change your voicemail today! An auto-response sets the expectations for your customers. “Thank you for your email. I will be checking and responding to email at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm daily.” Now your customers know not to worry. They know precisely when, and that you will get back to them. I can assure you this will stop the “did you get my email?” “did you get my message?”

It will also provide time for you to focus on the task at hand rather than trying to multitask. Multitasking is Inefficient, Ineffective, and Ultimately a Terrible Way to Work!

Learn to say “YES”. You’re probably thinking “I need to learn to say no.” The reality is if you are thinking that you’re already great at saying no. Because every time you say yes to something you are saying no to something else. Here’s what I mean by that. When a customer asks if you can stay late or and just can’t say no, you have just said no. By saying yes to your customer, you may have said no to going home to your family on time. Maybe you said no to having time to cook dinner. You may have said no to being able to help your children with homework. Learning to say yes is a must! You must learn to say yes.

When someone wants your time you must consider if you say yes to them what you are truly saying no to.

Be conscious. Be aware of what the “no” will be if you say yes to someone. There’s always a no. When I’m asked to give someone time I always ask myself if I say yes to them, what am I saying no to? If the answer is family I will choose to say yes to my family and thus no to that person. If it means saying no to doing laundry….then it’s a yes I’ll be there!

I’ve applied all 6 of these in my personal and business life. I’ve coached countless business owners and teams to manage themselves….not time. This takes practice and a lot of it. But I can assure you if you continue to practice these 6 steps until they become your lifestyle, your life, your business, and your days will be much more productive, profitable, and fulfilled.

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