STOP Multitasking! 5 Ways To Be More Productive.
Multi-tasking is one of the biggest myths!
I haven’t gone mad, let me explain…
Have you ever tried to catch a rabbit?
I used to spend the school holidays at my grandparents in Somerset and would often spot a little greyish-brown rabbit, twitching away in the grass.
So small. Easy to catch, surely?
I’d get so far, then it’s long ears would detect me, and its powerful hind legs would kick into action. Once, I managed a few deft moves, and my fingertips touched its soft fur. But I never caught one.
Imagine trying to catch two rabbits at once? Impossible!
What do you do when the two rabbits separate and go different directions?
If you’re following one in preference to the other, you’ll simply be ignoring the other.
If you’re still trying to catch both at the same time, the tendency is to try to follow both, and split the difference between their paths. Now you’re running straight when one went left, the other right.
Chasing both rabbits simply means you lose both.
Various studies have confirmed that multitasking is a myth!
People that think they can split their attention between multiple tasks at once aren’t getting more done.
They’re getting LESS done because they’re not focussing on doing one thing, well.
Chances are, if this is you (and worst your entire team), then you’ll all be feeling overwhelmed, stressed,exhausted and your business isn’t performing at the levels it could.
If you’re in the habit of multitasking, or know someone in your team that is, here’s 5 simple ways to break the habit and to become more productive.
# 1 Be Realistic – Land One Plane At A Time
Most businesses try to do too much at once; the key is to land one plane at a time. Not only will this get you into a routine of completing tasks, it will also significantly reduce overwhelm. Heathrow is the world’s busiest airline with over 73 million passengers and nearly half a million flights; but it only has two runways!
#2 Focus On The Important
Stop getting distracted on ‘urgent’ activities that demand immediate attention; the phone ringing is urgent, but it may not be important. ‘Important’ activities get you from A to B based on your goals and vision; if you don’t do this then you will never reach your desired result; but the problem is that these are proactive. You need to simplify, eliminate or delegate those tasks that are ‘urgent’ but not ‘important’.
#3 Stop Interruptions
Interruptions are stopping your business from growing. If you’re constantly being interrupted and derailed from running your business, then you need to keep a log – a basic record of the interruptions you experience during a day. You can then see whether they are necessary, or alternatively plan for them in your daily schedule. The three reasons you’re being interrupted are:
“I don’t know how to”– lack of knowledge is easy to remedy, for example, by producing a manual.
“I’m not allowed to”– simply give, or up the level of, authority.
“I need stroking” – team members want interaction and pop in for chats. This cripples a business and you need to find ways to give your team praise and attention, for example, via structured 1:1 feedback, social events, team huddles etc.
My tip for you and your team is to all get an A4 piece of paper and fold it 3 times to give 8 boxes each side.
Next, write the names of team members, including you and your family, in each box.
Instead of constantly interrupting people, jot down what you need to speak to X about, in the relevant box, and then you can forget about it (unless it’s urgent).
Then use this in your daily or weekly meetings and eventually meetings will come to an end as people eventually start ticking off or getting answers to these “interruptions” off their own back. This really helps you plan, for example if you always get a last order at the end of the day, then leave half an hour at the end of each day for last minute orders.
#4 Learn Lessons
Now start imagining your business always learning from its mistakes. By noting lessons down in a log, and allocating who is accountable for solving each one, you can focus on striking them off and remove any barriers to growth.
A business will tell you everything that’s going on, but only if you ask the right questions. And you need to create the right culture to feed this all in. Some examples: How do your staff really feel? What are your numbers telling you? How happy are your customers? Why did you lose that contract?
#5 Get Constant Feedback
An effective tool that provides continuous feedback is based on three main questions:
What do we need to STOP doing?
What do we need to START doing?
What should we CONTINUE doing?
We all need, and deserve, to give and receive feedback; it helps us perform better and ultimately succeed. Each member of your team should be expected to share a few things that each of their colleagues and clients should stop, start, and continue doing. Once aggregated you can identify trends.
Hope this helps. If you’re still not convinced, here’s a few ways we’ve helped business owners and leaders like you with their Productivity:
“Martin’s tools and tips have helped increase productivity in my business by more than 50%. We’ve moved from ‘firefighting’ into a position where I have been able to grow my business thanks to a focused goal, new services, and of course, increases in efficiencies.” – Keith
“The clarity of the outcome and how to get there is so simple. The meetings always remove the clutter and bring everything down to a plan on one spreadsheet or piece of paper.” – Tom
“Martin is my sounding board and each time after speaking to him my overwhelm levels decrease and positivity levels about what needs to be done increases.” – Emma
“I am flat out at the minute – doing amazing things and the list of things to do its HUGE. But the best piece of advice I was given in this instance is from Martin Norbury about air traffic control at LHR and how they cope with thousands of planes a day. They land one plane at a time. Works every time.” – Kate
After I took a day and a half to sulk and get over my ego, this has been the best thing to ever happen. I’ve found that I’ve got time and control and draws to take things out of my head. So, when I need to address something, I just open the draw. I have structure in my day.” – Michael
The Scalability Coach | Britain’s Top 10 Adviser 2018 | Author of #1 bestseller I don’t work Fridays | Ex-CEO of a PLC