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The Misconception of Multi-Tasking: 3 Steps to Prioritize Your Tasks

Multi-tasking. The ultimate skill stated at every job interview. Up until recently, it was believed that multi-tasking increased productivity. Studies now show multitasking wastes a significant amount of time.

The definition of multi-tasking: performing two or more tasks simultaneously

The idea is great in theory, but not in practice.

A great example, one that affects my kids, is when I’m trying to do something on my phone the same time my 4 year old is asking me for something. Usually the end result is me saying “what did you just ask?”

Multitasking does not allow for you to focus all of your attention at the task, or person, at hand. This is especially true if you are trying to listen to someone and simultaneously trying to write. Your brain does not have the ability to do comprehend both at the same time. You go back and forth between the two tasks at hand.

Overwhelmed. Drained. Disoriented.

These are words that can describe how you feel after you finish “multi-tasking.”

The good news is, we have the ability to move between multiple tasks and then come back to the task we were already doing. That is indeed impressive. Where we get it wrong is when we go back and forth between tasks without accomplishing any one particular task. It takes longer to complete each task when you go between tasks. When you focus on one task and then move to the next, it does not take as much time.

To be more efficient with your time, prioritize your tasks at hand.

The Misconception of Multi-Tasking- 3 Steps to Prioritize Your Tasks

3 Steps to Prioritize Your Tasks and Time

  1. Make a list of what needs to be accomplished.

Having a list will help you to see the entire picture. I have a running tab of to-do’s at work. When I look at that list, I can determine what is most important and focus on that one task at hand.

I sit down every morning, whether at work or at home, and create my to-do list. This helps me focus on what must get done.

  1. Decide what needs to be done first

Look at your list. If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it right away.

Now that those items are off your list, you have a list before you that needs to be accomplished. Every item on your list has a level of importance. Re-order your list in regards to when it needs to be completed and order of importance.

  1. Get ‘er done

Go through your list one by one and

Get. It. Done.

Focus on one task at hand and accomplish it efficiently.

I’ve heard lately from many people that they dread making phone calls, for any reason. If that is you, put those calls first on your list so you can cross them off.

In Conclusion…

The idea and concept of multi-tasking is held on a pedestal as one of the best qualities to have, especially in an interview. When looking at how to manage your time, to be the most efficient, focusing on one task until it is complete is the most efficient.

Do you normally “multi-task”? If so, what does that normally look like for you? Share below!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

6 Steps to a Successful Training

As I sat listening to my boss give an overview of the training that was about to take place, I looked at the faces of my co-workers and new immediately none of them cared about what was about to take place.

The reality is the training I was about to do in conjunction with my boss was very important. Working with patient information, we were obligated to follow HIPAA (keeping your personal information private). We were about to teach nurses, office assistants, and admitting interviewers a very simple, yet important task. It would add to their already packed workload. I knew the importance of the training as did my boss, but in the end, I wasn’t so sure.

No One Likes Trainings

The last thing any staff member wants to do is sit through another training. This is especially true when the employee feels like they are in meetings all of the time or they have a heavy workload.

Learning a new process when you have already learned an entire system can be frustrating. Your employee believes the program they use works just fine. The process in place is great. Learning an entirely new system can be, frustrating. It becomes even more frustrating when you switch systems just to go back a year later to the system you were previously using. This happened with the company my husband works for.

If you work for an innovative and thinking organization, odds are that you look for the most effective tools available. Sometimes there is a change in technology that the industry must take into account and staff must be trained. This can mean changing systems more frequently than you anticipate. If you make a change for change sake, you are going to have disgruntled employees.

No one likes to go to trainings, especially when they do not understand the value of what they are learning. Engaging the staff with different senses during the training will help them retain the information better. Here are 6 steps to a successful training, 6 ways you can make the training worth your employee’s time.

6 Steps to a Successful Training (1)

1. Cast Vision

One of the main problems with the training that day is vision was not properly cast. The new process was in place because of a law. We all understood that. It was presented in a dry, straight forward manner, which left the staff annoyed at the new process they were learning.

To create buy in, my boss should have shared the bigger picture. Some simple, true statements would have been:

“When we follow x, y, and z, we ensure that Billy’s very important information is kept safe and secure.”

“We would be showing a greater level of care for our client’s.”

“Stolen identities are on the rise. This procedure will help us keep our client’s information safe.”

“If this was your or your child’s information, wouldn’t you want to make sure it was being handled with extreme care?”

Telling your staff how this new procedure or software will help them, the organization, and potential clients help to create buy in to what you want to put in place.

2. Explain the New Process

After you cast vision, but before you dive into the information, explain the new process. Giving an explanation, an overview, of how the new process will fit into their workflow will help them see another piece of the puzzle.

3. Show the New Process or Software

Now that you have explained the process or software and what it can do, show them. I was able to walk the staff through each step. I had them watch me do it the first time. I explained what I was doing with each click of the mouse.

I asked the staff to keep questions until the end, until they had a chance to do the process on their own. This isn’t always what I would recommend. In this instance, I knew that once they started doing the process themselves, it would begin to click for them. If it didn’t begin to click for them, then I would be happy to help.

4. Let the Staff Do it

Once you have shown the staff, the staff needs to do it. This is where each staff member having their own laptop or access to a computer lab comes in extremely helpful. For many people, the new information will not click until they start doing it. Having a hands on experience allows your staff to interact with the information in a new way.

If you include a handout with the new process or software (which you should), make sure to hand it out at this point so they can review the document, reading and engaging the information on their own, as they move through the process.

5. Never Make Staff Feel Stupid

This happens more often than you could imagine.

Not all people learn at the same rate. Some read slower than others. Some older individuals are not as quick on the computer. Some simply have a hard time navigating the new process/software.

Walking alongside your staff while they are learning this new information is the epitome of servant leadership. We should never ask our staff to do something we aren’t willing to do. Helping them process and digest this information is what we are supposed to do as leaders.

Eye rolling and snide remarks when a staff member is having trouble with the process will not help with staff engagement.

6. Offer the Opportunity for Questions

At the end, never assume that all questions have been asked as staff are going through the process on their own.

If the training permits, asking your staff along the way if they have questions opens up the lines of communication. It gives them a chance to speak up when they may have kept quiet previously. Telling staff there are no stupid questions and reinforcing that you want them to leave the training with a good grasp on the information will also open up the lines for communication.

In Conclusion…

Trainings can be dry and difficult to teach. The reality that most of the staff don’t care makes it difficult for them to become engaged with the information. Cast vision from the beginning to help hook them in. Although I am unsure of the accuracy of this quote, I found it fascinating:

We retain 10% of what we read.

We retain 20% of what we hear.

We retain 30% of what we see.

We retain 50% of what we hear and see.

We retain 70% of what we say.

We retain 90% of what we do.

~various attributions


What else can you do to ensure a successful training? Share below!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)