We went into business to be our own boss, earn more money and have the lifestyle we only dreamed about while working for someone else. However, most business owners I speak to complain about:
- working longer hours than they ever imagined
- always having a fire to fight
- worrying where the next customer and dollar will come from
- missing out on events and having very little to no free time.
I find that it’s our bad business habits that get in the way of having a successful business and one of these bad habits is multi-tasking – a huge business and productivity killer.
CHASING TOO MANY RABBITS
Does this sound familiar? You’re on a client call and it’s been going on for a while so you text your next appointment to let them know you might be 5 min late.
Then an email notification pops up so you decide to quickly check it that out before you need to wrap up this call and go….
But there’s silence on line… because the client is waiting for you to respond to their question. Oops! Has this or something similar ever happened to you… because it has certainly happened to me!
More frightening… studies have shown that people distracted by incoming emails or text messages (multi-tasking) have seen a 10-point drop in their IQ, which is more than twice the effect of smoking weed!
“You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once.”
~ GARY KELLER (Book: The ONE Thing)
THE COST OF MULTI-TASKING TO YOUR BUSINESS
The problem is, that by doing several things at once, we trick ourselves into thinking that we’re getting more done when in reality, study upon study has shown that our productivity decreases by at least 40% or more while we’re switching tasks.
That’s because we’re not actually multi-tasking – we are simply switching tasks – and while we’re shifting from one thing to another we lose time in the process.
After many studies, researchers have concluded that on average it takes 12 minutes before you get back into a state of flow once you stopped working on something. For more complex tasks, it can take up to 24 minutes to get back to your state of flow.
Let’s put this in perspective… if you switched tasks 5 times in an hour, and on average it takes 12 minutes to get back into a state of flow, you wouldn’t have done any productive work in that hour because you were multi-tasking! e.g.
- you work on a client project (task 1)
- an email notification catches your eye so you check your email (task 2)
- while you’re doing that the phone rings, so you take the call (task 3)
- you get back to answering that email (task 4)
- you decide to get a coffee or check your social media before getting back into the client work (task 5)
Poof! One hour of potential productive work gone… Can you business afford these distractions?
HOW TO DO IT DIFFERENTLY
As business owners, we’ll always be juggling various roles, tasks, projects, deadlines and ideas at the same time… perhaps it’s lots of client calls, employees interrupting you or maybe you have various client projects on the go.
But unless you find a better way to work, you’ll end another day, week or month disappointed with your results.
You’ll wonder why you haven’t reached your goals and why there wasn’t any time for marketing or making more sales… again!
Luckily all isn’t lost! Here are a few ways to stop multi-tasking and be more productive.
Many business owners are stuck in their busyness instead of getting on with business.
A lot of business owners aren’t very productive or highly leveraged in what they do in a day. If you want to reach your goals, stop multi-tasking and start focusing on the high-impact activities that will bring in money and create leverage in your business.
- Decide on the quarterly goal that will drive the biggest growth in your business
- Break the main quarterly goal down into monthly + weekly tasks and activities
- Schedule daily/ weekly progress check-ins with yourself and/or your team to ensure milestones are reached
- Say No to every invite, activity or distraction that won’t help you to achieve this goal
- Stop being reactive – do the work that will grow your business first before you do anything else – and stop multi-tasking.
- Where is my biggest opportunity for growth right now?
- What is my ONE main goal for this quarter?
- Which activities can I do today and this week to help me achieve that ONE goal?
e.g. a Product Launch
- Annual Goal: A main goal could be to generate $50k from a new product this year
- Quarterly Goal: Launch the product in 3 months’ time
- Main Activities: Finish the product >> market the product >> launch the product
- Tasks for the Month: Create Module 1 + 2, create a sales landing page + shopping cart, create ads, post on social media, etc.
In this example, the main rabbit is to launch the product, but there are many moving parts (activities + tasks) that need to be completed for the launch to actually happen.
The example above is only a glimpse of what needs to be done for a product launch.
That’s why it’s crucial to stay focused, stop multi-tasking and say No to any other distractions like new marketing tactics or revamping your website while you’re working on catching that ONE rabbit.
KNOW YOUR DISTRACTIONS
Over the next 30 days, identify when and how you tend to keep yourself busy and distracted when you’re trying to do important work.
Come up with a few simple steps you can take when you catch yourself being distracted or multi-taking, so you can quickly get back to the tasks that will make the biggest difference in your business and to your bottom line.
Work on developing your self-discipline and the habit of catching only one rabbit at a time. It’s not easy, as I know so well, but I promise you it will make a world of difference to your business!
You’ll stress less about missing deadlines and start making consistent income because you’ll focus weekly on income-producing activities and not only when you run out of business.
You’ll feel more organised and in control of your days, and you’ll make things happen in your business at a pace you’ve never experienced before – you’ll experience tremendous growth and satisfaction not only in your business but also in your life.
Starve your distractions. Feed your Focus.
What is your Top Tip for staying focused during the day on one task? Leave your comment below.
Author: ALICIA MENKVELD Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld is an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 17 years who loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to small business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and productivity for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.