Multi-Tasking Is The Norm

Our world today is more fragmented. It comes at us in smaller pieces, more rapidly than ever before – 500 cable channels, high-speed Internet, smart phones, voicemail, email and instant messaging.

Like it or not, this is the world we live in. This unrelenting ringing, beeping, vibrating and buzzing is the pulse and pace of business today. It’s how business does business, and it’s the infrastructure that allows companies to create products and services to serve their customers.

That is why – multi-tasking is the norm.

You are going to have to do more than one thing at a time. Accept it. Learn to deal with it. Equip yourself to be able to operate in a multi-tasking environment.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to surrender to the multi-tasking forces of the business universe. You are still in control. How many more things you do at one time, how often, for how long and at what time are all decisions still within your control. How and when you deal with other questions, priorities and emergencies – while still investing the necessary time and energy in a specific project – that’s the skill in today’s environment.

Multi-tasking well creates value. It doesn’t come naturally for a lot of us. But, it can be learned – with effort.

What You Can Do:

  • Let go of “one thing at a time”
  • Use technology to your advantage
  • Create shorter blocks of focus – and focus fast
  • Constantly re-prioritize – be lighter on your feet
  • Lean on the team
  • Learn from a master multi-tasker
  • Trust the process
  • Give up perfection


Is it truly multi-tasking? are we really running many processes/systems at the same time?
I agree that our bodies do this in order for us to live, and if I read an article, or type this comment as I listen to your video, I’ve added more tasks being done in what appears as the “same time”.

I believe that what we think is multi-tasking is really fast switching of our focus from one item to the next. This switch happens so fast that we are not aware that any time has passed between our 2+ focal points.

I do agree that the “Do more with less”, “I need immediate results”, type of business world we live in needs some special tactics in order for us to keep up with all the options/choices/activities we need to do/consider. Although I express some difference of opinion on the main topic of multi-tasking, I do agree with your advice on what we can do.

I think “Flexibility” is the real key.

Many people focus on “Adaptability” and I think due to our comfort with the status quo, we look to adaptability, as it suggests changing to another (new) comfortable status quo. Our brains are designed for survival. Finding norms and patterns is comfortable, it takes less energy to survive when we can minimize the work of determining safe/threat. A comfortable status quo is what our brains appreciate.

In suggesting flexibility, I’m not suggesting we are blind to changing environments and potential threats. We still need adaptability for these. Flexibility is the “ability” to change or do different things. We need to be the most flexible we’ve ever been. We need the ability to move from item to item in a land of changing priorities.

We also need to manage our emotions about what is happening around us. We need to monitor the stories we tell ourselves about why things are happening, why people are doing what they do, why things are changing, etc.
In times of change (even changing focus between tasks) we increase our stress; with that comes higher chance for error, higher chance to fill in the details with what we ‘think’ is happening verses looking at facts we know.

Multi-tasking is failing me right now. As I tried to type a comment to your post, I’ve had 3 conversations about 3 different topics, so I’ve made many switches back and forth between this note and other priorities. I’ve misplaced the direction I was going with my main comments. lol. Somewhere in the switching I’ve lost important information. Even for a simple task of sharing my thoughts about an article. How does this fail scale when the tasks are bigger, when more is at stake.

I’m flexible and still can fail at multi-tasking. maybe my points above are invalid. I’m not going back to erase them, as then if you read this it won’t make sense.

I think to be successful in a fast-paced multi-demand business world, you need to figure out how to swtich tasks efficiently, how to return to previous tasks in a way that you reduce errors and time needed to catch back up to where you were. Or possibily break up larger tasks into chunks and avoid switching tasks until the little chunks are completed.

Due to my thought derailment. I hope you at least find some entertainment in this comment. lol

Opnick LeMachine on April 16, 2014 Reply

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