Here at UBIC we have a rule for meetings. If you are caught using your phone, tablet or laptop for something unrelated to the meeting, you get to put $10 into a pot that is used for paying for in-office parties, snacks and treats. This rule is consistent with our one of our core values of “Getting the Why”. If you have been invited to a meeting it is because we want you to be productively involved. When you are distracted by outside concerns, like texting, or checking out what’s happening on Facebook, then you are not listening, you are not participating, and you are impacting the productivity of everyone in the room. Not to mention it is rude.
Recent studies show the importance of staying focused on one thing at a time. Companies are now finding that a whopping 98% of people aren’t good at multitasking. They aren’t accomplishing more than they would if they just stuck to one task. It turns out that the belief that you can do two things at the same time actually reduces productivity by up to 40%. This applies to employees working at their desks as much as it does in meetings.
Multitasking as we commonly think of it, is to try to do more than one thing at a time. Rapid task switching, or moving quickly from one subject to another, can be just as detrimental to completing these tasks quickly and effectively. The third type of multitasking is task switching, something we all do. Task switching is moving from one task to another without finishing the first one. The net result is now you have more than one task incomplete requiring you to go back and finish it up. Revisiting things is a big contributor to lost productivity.
So, what can be done? How do we shift our mind set back to doing one thing at a time? Experts have some suggestions:
· Create your own company rule that cell phones, tablets, and laptops must not be used during meetings.
· Schedule your tasks and projects together if they are similar. It seems strange, but it keeps your brain in the same mindset for longer, increasing your productivity.
· Set aside a block of time in your day to answer emails. These can be some of the biggest distractions during your day if you let them.
· Try to eliminate distractions. Close your office door and turn off your cell phone to increase your focus and get more done.
· Make a do to list to keep yourself on track and avoid getting distracted.
Shifting to single tasking isn’t an easy switch but the increase in productivity and quality of work makes it well worth it. Give it a try and get your employees on board!