Inspiration and Information for Starting Your Business

Multi-Tasking: Is it Real or Are You Kidding Yourself?

By Mattew Toren

Your time, which of course is money, is precious. Every minute counts. So you start to become a multi-tasking wizard. This seems like a natural process, especially for an entrepreneur. You’ve got so much to do; it only makes sense to try to complete two or even several activities at once. But are you really doing your productivity a service? Or are you actually wasting time and performing mental gymnastics to assure yourself of your efficiency? The truth is, by lending your entire focus to challenges one at a time, you’ll generate better ideas and implement them quicker.

Productivity Versus Distraction

As a high level multi-tasker, you’ve mastered the art of navigating multiple browser windows, typing while skyping, emailing while parasailing. Multi-tasking seems like such a great idea, it doesn’t restrict itself to pursuits of business. Soon, it invades leisure, relaxation, and socialization. Eventually, everything can begin to merge together into an amorphous, multi-tasking blob, attempting to stretch its appendages in every direction at the same time.

Prioritize

Maybe multi-tasking isn’t so horrifying in reality, but switching over to an ideal of prioritization will definitely improve your production. Make a schedule and stick to it. Check off projects one at a time. You’ll receive satisfaction and a motivational boost from these completions that you wouldn’t receive when attempting to do everything at once.

Zen Masters

Give each project or challenge the attention it deserves. Try to think of an elephant. Really picture it in as much detail as you can. Now, as you’re imagining the elephant, try to say the alphabet backwards. Easy? Try to add your year of birth to 2012 while imagining a tiger. These silly exercises are meant to illustrate a point. Your brain functions best by focusing its conscious awareness on one concept. Don’t spread your neurons out too thin. Pinpoint them with laser-like focus on what you’ve set out to accomplish.

Evolutionary Leaps

Multi-tasking provides continuous stimulation. There is no time to let your brain struggle and then succeed with a creative outburst. Evolution works as small genetic differences in individuals accumulate over time. Looking back, we see concepts like species start to emerge. Consider multi-tasking in these broad leaps instead of incrementally. Work on something for a while with dedication and focus. If you’re feeling stifled, take a break and move on to something else, but take on the new job with equal focus and determination.

Focus Your Relaxation

Don’t let mutli-tasking stick its head into your efforts toward relaxation or leisure. When you sit down to read that new novel or watch the latest episode of House, don’t bring your computer to the couch to constantly check for updates. Give yourself a chance to really relax by focusing your complete attention on the process.

Multi-tasking is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Even if it appears to be helping, it’s really cutting back on your efficiency and the quality of your work. Are you a multi-tasking guru? Do you make the system work? Or do you prefer to tackle challenges one at a time? Let us know with a comment.

—————————————————————————

matthewPic-1Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of the award winning books, Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right. Their latest project is a free classified ads network called: iSell.com.

  • http://www.kgaction.com Mary Kaplan

    Great post, and yes, I can multitask, but putting concentrated effort into one task at a time seems to work better for me too. With all the information available on every subject, it is no wonder that our brains frequently turn to mush! I like the idea of the to-do list and checking off each item one by one upon completion. Every check mark brings a feeling of completion and success. The comment about multitasking entering the leisure time window, is scary but truthful. We are a generation that doesn’t know how to relax. Relaxation is essential to good health, so put away those computers, phones, etc. and really enjoy a good book.