Is Multitasking Killing Your Business?

Devon-McDonald by

 

Multitasking — when you hear the word, do you think of something negative or positive?

Well, some recent studies show that the act of multitasking actually makes most people feel really good about themselves emotionally.

“There’s this myth among some people that multitasking makes them more productive,” study researcher Zheng Wang, assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University, said in a statement. “But they seem to be misperceiving the positive feelings they get from multitasking. They are not being more productive — they just feel more emotionally satisfied from their work.”

In reality, multitasking is bad. It leads to sub-par work and added stress. Yes, multitasking making us feel better about ourselves, but that feeling is an illusion.

In a recent Inc. article, “Don’t Multitask: Your Brain Will Thank You,” Issie Lapowsky writes, “Multitasking is a weakness, not a strength. In 2010, a study by neuroscientists at the French medical research agency Inserm showed that when people focus on two tasks simultaneously, each side of the brain tackles a different task. This suggests a two-task limit on what the human brain can handle.”

Multitasking at the Expansion Stage

There is a lot to be done at the expansion stage. Executives (surely) feel it. Product feels it. Sales feels it. Marketers feel it. And so on.

This is why many employees of companies at this particular stage of growth fall into a dangerous trap of trying to do too many things at once, and — unfortunately — end up not being thorough or accomplishing enough.

For this reason, we are constantly reminding our portfolio companies to not fall into the multitasking trap. Instead, they should:

  • Focus on the few things that matter.
  • Set annual “SMART” goals for your team, and focus on executing against those goals each quarter, each month, each week, each day.
  • Make sure that you are focusing on your few key segments and your few key buyer personas so that you can completely dominate a market, rather than have your toes in many markets and come across as the “B” player.
  • Work with your team members to establish workplans that map out the steps of your planned execution strategy, the expected outcome, and who has ownership of completing each task, in the time period expected.
  • Have a model day for yourself to stay focused on high-impact similar activities for intervals of time longer than an hour.

This is obviously a lot easier said than done. And even in the Labs (where we are known for being SUPER process oriented and goal-driven) we have to sometimes take a step back and make sure that we don’t have too many balls in the air at once, and that we are actually making real impact with our portfolio companies, not just scratching many surfaces.

Conclusion

If you can keep in mind that multitasking is in fact NOT good (despite the fact that it makes you feel good), and instead focus on the few things that really matter (actually getting those things done) — I promise your business will scale at a MUCH faster rate.

Do you agree multitasking is a trap best avoided?