I decided to spend a day noticing how often I did more than one thing at a time.  Yes, I know women are apparently the multi-tasking champions and I was astounded at how seldom I did focus solely on the task at hand.  A quick ring around confirmed that I am not the only one and it is not gender biased.

Are you guilty of any of these:

The thing is, there are times when we can be more efficient by multi-tasking… but at what cost – are we being effective?

Efficiency means to me – getting stuff done – as much as possible in the least amount of time within an acceptable risk range.

Effectiveness on the other hand means getting the right stuff done with an enquiring mindset – being innovative, thoughtful and intentional and aware of the bigger picture.

Here are more examples:

There are some tasks where efficiency works and multi-tasking is acceptable.

And there are other tasks, which compete for our attention, and as a consequence maybe underdone and deserving of more.

Multi-tasking by its very nature means that our focus is scattered, that we are robbing one task of our full attention to get something else done.

There is an opportunity cost here – the cost of not giving a task our full and unbridled attention.  It seems to me that we no longer consider this cost, we have accepted multi-tasking is the way to do things in the crazy frantic world we live in.

The list is never ending:

There are some tasks which I think are worthy of 100% of our attention – reading, thinking, strategizing, sleeping, exercising.  And some that are effective companions.

What do you think? Can you relate to any of these examples?    

What requires 100% attention?

Leave a comment – I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Some Homework:

Do an audit – spend a day noticing what you do – when do you multi-task and when do you focus entirely on the job at hand? And what should change?

Create your own behavioural rules – when will you apply 100% attention.

Be accountable – when you break your rules, what are the consequences?  A donation to a charity of choice perhaps?

I’d love to hear which tasks you have decided must be given 100% attention.


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