Multi-tasking and the Failure of Big Changes

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

According to Inc. magazine multitasking makes you dumber than being stoned. Here is what they say: “Stop multi-tasking. No, seriously—stop. Switching from task to task quickly does not work. In fact, changing tasks more than 10 times in a day makes you dumber than being stoned. When you’re stoned, your IQ drops by five points. When you multitask, it drops by an average of 10 points, 15 for men, five for women (yes, men are three times as bad at multitasking than women).”

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Now, let’s apply that to change in organizations. When individuals and project teams take on too many projects that all demand their attention, the quality of their work goes down. Sherry Trukle, author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, suggests that although our ability to perform goes down — or belief that we are doing well goes up!

I like the old GE model that allowed teams to say no when the number of projects got to be too much. I am yet to find another organization that encourages managers and leaders to set boundaries. (I hope you will comments and tell me that I am wrong. I would love to bring on this issue.)

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