Friday Encore: Multi-tasking will ruin your career

Friday Encore features a past blog posting that I thought you might not want to miss. Okay, call it a repeat if you want. When necessary the post may be updated with new information or data to keep it relevant. The following was originally posted March 17th, 2008.

Multi-Tasking Will Ruin Your Career
We’ve all said it during one or another job interview, “I’m a really good multi-tasker.” But, multi-tasking is the ADHD of the career world and that’s not good. If you’re trying to juggle many projects at one-time chances are you’ll produces less than stellar results for all.

The simplest example that we can all relate to is talking on the cell phone while driving. Mythbusters even tested it and found that driving while talking on the cell phone is even more dangerous than drunk driving—also something you shouldn’t do simultaneously.

Studies have been proven that multi-tasking is dangerous for your career. And it’s also not so healthy for your stress level. Switching between answering emails, phone calls and getting stuff done can actually leave you deeper in the weeds. If you’re talking on the phone while reading email and scanning through a report you’ll be too scattered to make intelligent decisions.
You’ll get more accomplished if you put a little zen into your work mojo. That is being present and mindful will help you focus on the tasks at hand. By allowing yourself to dedicated attention to a task you’ll accomplish more in less time.

photo by chotda

5 Tips for Real Time Management
1. Email: Set aside 15 minutes to answer email. To ensure that you don’t miss out try scheduling this for 3 times during the day: first thing in the morning, just after lunch and an hour before leaving.

2. Block out work time. Block out time each day to focus on your work. No meetings or coworker drop-bys.

3. Speaking of drop-bys…we all know they can big time suckers, but it’s also important not to be viewed as anti-social. Manage your time with drop-bys by politely telling them you only have 5 minutes or so to spare. Then be sure to stick to it and not let your time be stolen.

4. Schedule phone calls. Set a time to make and receive calls. Use your voicemail message to let callers know what time you’ll be at your desk to return and receive calls.

5. Expect the unexpected. Don’t plan your day so rigidly that you’re totally thrown off when something comes up out of the blue.

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