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The Multitasking Lie
The Multitasking Lie
I hate to be the one to break this to you, but multitasking is a lie.
It doesn't work in your personal life and certainly doesn't work with your business.
Palm, the first producers of the PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), which is the precursor to what we now know as smart phones, had a unique strategy to software development.
When a bug in the code arose, they fixed it right away. In fact, they even had daily tests on all of their code to check for bugs. They found that when they fixed the problem immediately, instead of getting sidetracked by the many new things that come up in software development, it took about one hour to fix, and everything was back on track.
Sounds pretty simple, right?
But here's the big wow:
When they waited 3 weeks to fix the problem, it took them 24 times longer, regardless of how simple or complex the issue was.
Simply by waiting to solve the issue and getting distracted by all of the development in the interim, they cost themselves 24 times the amount of time and labor!
Don’t believe me? Try it yourself.
Take out a piece of paper. Now draw a horizontal line in the middle of the paper. Get your timer ready and time yourself writing, "I am a great multitasker" above the line, then the numbers 1-20 below the line.
Go as fast as you can. Done? Write out the time it took you.
Now do the same thing again, but with a twist this time, you’re going to fill out the words on the top of the line and the numbers underneath the line at the same time. That is, after writing each letter of the same sentence, jump down to write the next number in the same number sequence.
Go on, try it. Hearing something is nothing like seeing it for yourself. And this could very likely change how you run your business.
So how long did it take you?
The first time it took me 22 seconds. The second time it took me 52 seconds. It takes more than double the amount of time to switch back and forth than to write each series out on its own. Twice as long to get the same exact result!
The truth about multitasking is that it doesn’t really exist. It's really task-switching.
When you consider the amount of extra labor that goes into trying to juggle between different tasks, and the products that could be sold or the clients that could be serviced during that lost time, you’ll see multitasking for what it is: ineffective and extremely costly.
I’m trying to banish multitasking from business, one CEO at a time, by giving over the secret of how the most successful business owners get around the temptation of multitasking— the One Week Sprint. It’s where you allow your brain with optimal efficiency by allowing yourself to focus on One.Thing. At. A. Time. One project per week (as much as possible.) In that hyper-focused state, you can shred through your to-do list with more attentiveness and effectiveness than you might imagine.
So here they are: the 6 Best Hacks to successfully doing a One Week Sprint:
1. Create a project backlog
Sit down and brainstorm. Write down all of your current tasks and projects, as well as those that you'd like to do in the future. Don't hold back; now is the time to get everything on the table and think big.
Now that you've gotten all of your projects down on paper, prioritize their importance. Maybe you'd like to add a new product into your mix and recruit a new office manager. Choose one to focus on first. It doesn't mean that the other projects won't happen, they just won't happen yet.
Once you've prioritized your backlog, create a timeline of when you'll get everything done. Build the big-picture calendar of which projects will get tackled and when.
4. Chunk it
This is perhaps the most important step in creating a successful One Week Sprint. Break down the big overwhelming tasks into small, week-long chunks.
A One Week Sprint is NOT "hire a new office manager." That's too vague and unattainable in one week’s time.
A One Week Sprint IS "Meet with Nancy for 45 minutes to create a job description for a new office manager." See what I mean?
5. Get Accountable
You can't do it all alone. You need a support system to keep you on track towards accomplishing your goals. Find a mentor, build your support team, and get accountable.
6. Stay Flexible
All plans start to show their flaws as soon as you hit the battlefield. Things come up. That's life. You may have a sprint planned out and then an emergency will happen that requires all your attention. Roll with the punches and don't let one "bad" week throw you off course.
Take Brand Launcher member Jeff Charlton of Graphic Connections. He built this board. It's so simple and has made a huge difference for him.
He went through these 6 steps above and created a project backlog. Each week he moves a project from "Backlog" to "In Progress." He is only allowed to have 1 or 2 projects in the "In Progress" section.
That's the beauty of it.
Then when a project is finished, he moves it into the "Complete" section, where he can look back and take pride in his progress.
Simple and powerful. It's all about achieving small wins instead of waiting for the "right time" to tackle the big, daunting projects.
Jeff, and other Brand Launcher members who have implemented this method are building momentum to get things done. They’ve also got more completed projects crossed off the list than they could have ever managed while being stuck in multitask-ville.
Learning about a concept like this that’s been completely swept under the rug by our ADD culture can be fun. Maybe you even did the writing exercise and learned something. But in order for this to make an impact on your business, and your life, you need resolve. It’s my new favorite word.
Apply for a complimentary 15-minute One Week Sprint Strategy Session and we’ll mail the first 3 applicants a One Week Sprint board.
Taking you from where you are to where you want to be,