Posts Tagged ‘multi-tasking’

Managing Time?

August 19th, 2012

Management consultant Steve Prentice says you don’t need to manage time – you need to manage expectations. What a great way to look at the high Gold stress of having so much to do in such a compressed period of time – and a to-do list that will never be completely done.

Prentice argues it’s not about agendas, scheduling, or workloads. Things like cell phones, e-mails, voice mail and the likes make our day more hectic, and not smoother or easier. A previous study showed that the average manager gets interrupted every ten minutes – and chance are, it’s more often than that! A U.K. study also showed that all of our interruptions and needs for our immediate response is on par with smoking a joint when compared to the impact it has on our mental ability to concentrate. Yikes!

Prentice feels that multi-taking is essentially a myth. He claims that we still deal with information at the same speeds as we always have, but now have so much more coming at us. Are all of the distractions and stuff coming at us really things that require our immediate attention, or are they just “predictable interruptions,” as Prentice calls them?

However, we really can teach others that not everything is an emergency and commit to getting to it at a specific point and time. Or the words of many high Orange: I just can’t deal with that right now…”

On a typical workday, more than 75 percent of leaders have an hour or less of uninterrupted time, according to a new nationwide survey conducted by NFI Research. Of the individuals surveyed, two-thirds shared that they are distracted 11 to 40 times a day!

There is also good ammunition for single-tasking Golds: It comes highly recommended by a London economist who claims we tend to waste up to two hours a day when our multi-tasking interrupts our train of thought, causes projects or plans to be delayed or to stay incomplete. But is that accurate, or could it be a bias because he likely isn’t an Orange who can and want to multi-task, and love it?

ADD? Not Likely

May 2nd, 2010

Here is another excerpt of the all-new and totally different Colorful Personalities book:

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is something plenty of Oranges have been asked about, or labeled as, at some point or another. In fact, drug makers now claim that over eight million adults “suffer” from ADD in North America. Maybe. Without downplaying the legitimacy of ADD, there are many more millions of Oranges who laugh at that label and know fully well that many so-called “symptoms” are their normal stresses and behaviors.

The web-site of one drug maker even claims that a simple six question quiz establishes whether someone is likely to have symptoms of ADD. Their assessment ranges from whether the person has trouble finishing projects, has difficulty sitting still for long periods without fidgeting, challenges with getting started on detailed projects, or has trouble planning tasks on order. There are very few Oranges who would not be able to answer yes to all of those questions, or they wouldn’t be Orange! Are these really “problems,” or just special gifts and talents?

Finishing details is a last-minute thing. Right now, Oranges choose to multi-task as there are lots of other things on their plate. Sitting still is not always a challenge, but it does depend on whether a meeting or project is interesting, interactive, or practical in the first place. Getting tasks in order is not half as much fun as working on pieces here and there, a little bit at a time. That approach simply creates variety and avoids boredom – it does not create a need for drugs. Oranges will get their work done, but it is going to be a lot of fun along the way. It just may not be done with the same template the rest of the world is using.

In the words of JetBlue founder David Neeleman during a 60 Minutes feature on adult ADD: “Your brain just thinks a little different and you come up with things. I just have a feeling that if I took the medication, I’d be just like everybody else.”

Is Multi-tasking A Bad Idea?

July 1st, 2009

No matter what your primary Color, are you more of an Orange multi-tasker, or a Gold “one thing at a time” person? Your answer will probably decide whether you love or hate (and disagree) with some of the recent research on the issue, summarized in a Montreal Gazette article:

Not many years ago, multi-tasking was hailed as a breakthrough in efficiency. Now, some are comparing it to attention deficit disorder – yikes! The human brain, the latest research shows, is just not capable of performing two or more tasks simultaneously with any degree of efficiency. It gets agitated and distracted. The business world once embraced multi-tasking as a solution to demanding schedules. But the bloom is off that rose: A British study published in 2005 found that workers who were “distracted by e-mail and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers.”

The study’s author, University of London psychologist Glenn Wilson, also said that constantly breaking away from tasks to respond to e-mail or text messages has essentially the same effect on alertness as missing a night’s sleep. But would that be a big deal to an Orange anyway?

But there is more: Experts believe that children might be at risk of under-achieving because of out-of-control multi-tasking. Jordan Graftman of the U.S. Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke said this to Atlantic magazine: “Children (who) are instant messaging while doing homework, playing games online, and watching TV, are not going to do well in the long run.” The story also quoted psychology professor Russell Poldrack that humans are “not built” to multi-task. “We’re really built to focus.”

Millions of Oranges will tell you that these findings are bullcrap, while Golds love the feedback that they are right in doing one thing at a time, doing it very well, and then moving on….

©George Boelcke, CCP

One Thing At a Time

September 1st, 2007

If high Orange are great at multi-tasking, Golds generally prefer to do one thing at a time, do it very well and then move on.

While Golds are the largest percentage in North America, they choose to fly below the radar and definitely don’t look for attention or the spotlight. So it’s hard to get some good stories, or real-life insights. But one high Gold who proudly proclaims her desire to single-task is author and TV personality Suze Orman. “I, more than anybody I’ve ever met, do not believe in multitasking. I think it’s the absolute ruination of the perfection of a project.” OK, could that be any clearer?

Orman is very proud of her ability to focus and to totally stick to her agenda and plan. “All I care about is what I do, and I do absolutely nothing else while I am doing it.” She won’t answer the phone when she is writing and has a cell phone that is never powered on, to assure only she controls telephone calls. While Orman doesn’t have a staff or assistant, when she hires people to work on a project, she insists on that same total focus from them.

She tells Time Magazine her logic behind that: “I’m not saying they can’t multitask, just not on my time. The people who multitask, I think, do everything to mediocrity at best.” Ouch – OK, perhaps that shows her Gold/Green judgmental tendencies and right or wrong mindset, as much as her preferences.

But maybe Orman does have a point when she claims: “I think you have to stop thinking you are at everyone else’s beck and call.”