by Linda-Ann Stewart
Over and over again, we’re told that we can only focus on one thing at a time. When we think we’re focusing on two ideas at a time, we’re really switching our attention from one to the other and back again. That is a waste of mental energy.
It’s a myth that we can multi-task without some decline in our ability to focus and be effective. Multi-tasking actually slows us down and erodes our ability to concentrate.
A study from the University of Michigan has actually found a reduction of 40 percent in production when we try to do two things at once. It also causes us to make mistakes and creates the problem of being burned out.
A Microsoft study found it can take up to 15 minutes to re-focus after an interruption. This can deplete internal resources and reduce creativity. Distractions take the place of true accomplishment. Just because we look busy doesn’t mean we’re achieving anything.
The solution is to shut out the interruptions, distractions and focus for an extended period of time on the project in front of you. Corporations are beginning to create these distraction-free time zones.
Not only does this free up time, but it reduces stress and allows space for creativity to flow. When we’re not busy dealing with the latest crisis, we can begin to move forward.
Establish one or two times a day to check email, let the phone messages go to voicemail, shut the door to be able to concentrate. These are boundaries we set around our time and workspace to allow us to be more productive and feel more peaceful.
Learning to set boundaries isn’t just important in our personal lives, it’s important in our business lives, as well. It forms a structure that we can count on and help us to be more calm and relaxed.
Copyright 2010 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved