My last article “You’re Busy But Are You Productive” (see below) triggered quite a few e-mails. I’ll expand a little on this productivity topic as so many people seem to struggle with it. One of the problems is that our culture reveres the ability to multi-task. It’s become a way of life – not exactly a sane way. Not only that, it turns out to not be a very productive way as well.
David Rock the CEO of the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of “Your Brain at Work” says that multitasking causes “cognitive capacity to drop from that of a Harvard MBA to that of an 8-year-old”. Apparently, heavy multitaskers have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information and experience more stress. Worse yet, when you multitask for a long time you become less efficient and eventually you burn out.
Are you a pro at multi-tasking? Are you finding that it’s becoming more and more difficult to concentrate on one thing at a time? The reason might be that your brain can really only handle one thing at a time and when you multitask you quickly switch between things which eventually programs your brain to have shorter and shorter attention spans.
Try single-tasking – which in my mind is basically being in the moment and fully present with one task or activity at the time. Imagine having a meal, just eating and savoring each bite. No texting, talking on the phone, just eating. Imagine working on a project fully focused, no distractions. I can go on and on.
When you live and do your work this way, at least some of the time, you’ll experience some great benefits – your work will become more focused, more effective and you’ll deliver results that will set you apart from the multi-tasking crowd. Your whole life will be of better quality, more meaningful and less stressful.
I ran across this exquisite video which shows what can be accomplished with the power of concentration. It’s only 7:34 minutes. I’d love to hear how it impacted you.