Being “in the now.” Achieve maximum workplace productivity by focusing on the task at hand.
Having watched (and coached) thousands of professionals to pursue their dream of entrepreneurship by starting a business, I am always amazed at the people who are constantly on the run, as they attempt to juggle so many tasks at once. They think that by multitasking they will achieve maximum workplace productivity. They foolishly believe they are performing at optimal levels of workplace performance.
They wear their multitasking work-life badge of honor as a Scarlet Letter sign that they are adept at “managing” so many different jobs, tasks, chores at ONCE.
I suggest that it is far from ideal to even attempt to manage multiple tasks at once. In fact, so many people are so distracted by so many things it’s a wonder they can achieve optimum levels of workplace performance at all. The truth is, they often can’t and DON’T! There’s even a well-researched psychological explanation to justify this. Read why humans are BAD at multitasking.
Research bears this out. Scientists have conducted extensive research to dispute the myth that we humans can multitask.
To gain maximum levels of productivity, I urge my entrepreneur, start-up, and small business owner clients to focus on the one critical task in front of them at the moment. Such a focused and singular approach to focusing 100% on the task at hand is referred to as: “BEING IN THE NOW!”
Being in the now demands that we give our “UNDIVIDED” attention and full focus to the immediate job we are working on at any single given point in time. Don’t you hate being in meetings where people are constantly refusing to pay attention, pecking away at their PDAs, texting on their smart phones, checking their emails, or playing some mindless distraction/game?
when you are in the now you’ll find yourself applying a militaristic “Zen-like” focus on the task at hand. It demands that we bring our full arsenal of attention to bear on a problem or job to find the maximum number of potential solutions, think creatively, ask “WHY?” and “WHAT IF” and be fully engaged with others.
Being in the now requires us to apply creative problem-solving techniques and critical thinking strategies to resolve challenges. We humans are incapable of “multitasking.” It’s not how our brains work. We foolishly assume we can perform several tasks at optimum performance levels, but the sad truth is WE CAN’T.
Given the blurring of our work-life balance we may feel we have no choice. When they become overwhelmed (as many do because attempting to multitask is an unsustainable human approach to work) I urge my clients to SLOW DOWN! I have them take 15-30 minutes every day to set aside personal/private time in a quiet, secluded place. Once you can carve out “alone time” you can begin to think about the strategic issues you face. It’s your own personal time to free form associate, visualize, and think up new ways to solve problems, address long-term issues, begin planning for future work. Private time away from any/all distractions allows us to focus on the “big picture” items one at a time.
So, instead of trying to do as many things as you can at sub-optimal performance levels and achieving “AVERAGE” results at best, change your work behavior. Focus on one item at a time with all your considerable brain power, attention, and ability to solve problems and think creatively. You will be truly AMAZED at the high performance levels you are able to achieve.
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach