The Multitasking myth
“Can you repeat that?”
"Sorry, I was on mute."
“Which deadline are you talking about?”
“I’ll have to get back to you.”
“I haven’t started yet.”
How many times have you heard these lines during meetings or conference calls? Or looked over to see a colleague who should be weighing in instead lost in their phone, unable to pay attention? We’ve all felt the time suck of trying to reach consensus with team members who are distracted by other priorities. Or seen our colleagues struggle to contribute while putting out a fire via instant messaging.
Multitasking is not a strategy
The world is busy. We’re all trying to achieve more in less time. But the bottom line is, multitasking may be hurting your organization.
Numerous recent studies have identified a variety of problems with multitasking. A recent summary by the University of Southern California reminds readers of the most worrisome findings, including a drop of up to 15 IQ points while multitasking. Researchers have repeatedly demonstrated that the more complex the task, the more inefficient multitaskers become.
And this data isn’t new. The American Psychological Association identified a 40% productivity cost from multitasking more than a decade ago.
Enabling focus with clear priorities
What does the research mean for your delivery strategy? Simply expecting team members to work on multiple projects at once, without clear priorities and built-in time to focus, won’t cut it. In fact, multitasking as an organizational strategy has a significant hidden cost that could be the difference between success and failure.
Focus is possible when you deploy the right number of people with the right mix of expertise across the projects with the greatest benefit to the organization – and give those people clear and simple direction about priorities. Yes, that can be difficult when you’re facing constant pressure to cut costs or trim headcount. Knowing where you need to draw the line on your organization’s change portfolio is key to providing clarity of focus. That’s where we come in. cShell Consulting specializes in helping organizations evolve into leaner, more focused, more successful businesses. Our models will help you assess the efficacy of your project teams and determine the right balance of knowledge and delivery capability, while minimizing hidden costs. Let us help you.