You've been told that it enhances productivity. You think that it saves time. You see successful people doing it. You're hardwired to do it too. But it's all a lie.
Multitasking is the most accepted and practiced lie.
Let me prove it to you:
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? Good.
Ok, do the same thing one more time, but with one small change. This time, write one letter of the sentence above the line, then one number from 1-20 below the line, one letter, one number. "I", then 1, then "a", then 2.
How long did it take you? Really try it. Because hearing is not like seeing for yourself. This can change your business.
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. Did you catch that? Twice as long to get the same exact result!
The cost of multitasking is that it takes twice as long.
Here's the bottom line- there's no such this as multitasking. It's really task-switching.
The human brain can only focus on one activity at a time. When we try to do two things at once something gets the raw end of the deal. We complete one task on auto-pilot. Yes, you can talk on your cell phone while walking, but that's because you walk without thinking about it. But try this- image the taste and smell of chocolate while adding 42 and 87 in your head. Just doesn't work, right?
Multitasking decreases productivity by 40%, according to the Harvard Business Review. The average worker looses 2.1 hours a day due to distractions caused by multitasking. That adds up to 546 unproductive work hours a year!1
The problem is that, "Psychologists agree that only about 2% of the total population have brains that are naturally wired to multitask. Unfortunately we all think we’re part of that 2%."2
Chew on this:
Everyone agrees that texting while driving is dangerous. There have been many campaigns and videos produced to try to battle this trend, especially amongst teens. But recently one video made it huge on social media.
Click on the image below to watch it.
A driving test instructor in Brussels tells the test-takers that there's a new law which requires them to text accurately while taking the test. You watch the students panic and drive, well, terribly. They say that it's dangerous, outrageous, and one even admits that if it becomes the law he'll stop driving. Pretty powerful.
Why was the video so brilliant?
Because it tapped into a truth that we're all familiar with, but don't admit: when it comes down to it, we really can't multitask well. If we had to text while driving, we'd feel like absolute idiots like the test-takers in the video.
Ok, you may be thinking, "I've heard this before, multitasking isn't great. But what does this have to do with growing my business?"
Here's the one line answer- you can't multitask in your business either.
Here's what I mean:
We've worked with thousands of business owners. And I can personally attest that the majority of business owners, especially those who, like the Magical ADD Dragon, have simply have too much going on. (If you are ADD like check it out.) There are employees to be trained, clients to be satisfied, finances to be managed, and campaigns to be run, to name a few. But what happens is that nothing really ever gets done. Big plans and great ideas just sit around and collect dust. Sound familiar?
Naturally, they're constantly switching from one project to the next and never quite feel the satisfaction of completing just about anything. In other words, they're multitasking and it's costing them money.
But multitasking just doesn't work. It takes more time and you make more mistakes. That's a fact.
Look, this strategy is for people who are super busy with more to do then their capacity.
So what should you do? The reality is that there are too many urgent needs pressing on you. You have to keep jumping around to get everything done and keep everyone happy- right?
Well, hold that thought.
Let me share with you the secret to how successful business owners get stuff done. They don't necessarily have more time. They don't necessarily have more money or better employees. But they get stuff done by using this one secret hack. They use One Week Sprints.
Every week these business owners choose one area that they will focus on. They steadily chip away at one important project or task at a time until it's complete. They don't multitask. They get stuff done.
Here's what this doesn't mean. It doesn't mean that they go missing from the office every week to work on some project. You were right. The reality is that as a business owner you do have many tasks and people constantly vying for your attention. Using One Week Sprints doesn't remove that reality. There will still be urgent matters that come up and emails to be answered every day, and that's ok.
But the magic of One Week Sprints is that they enable you to get to those important, half-baked projects that keep getting pushed aside or forgotten about.
They force you to say no to something in order to say yes to something else. They give you the freedom and structure you crave to actually accomplish your goals and realize your dreams.
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