Hello everyone. Today’s topic is something many have struggled with for years. All the “experts” and books written by Business Gurus tell us that, to be successful, I had to be doing all things at all times. The very Secret to Success seemed to lay hidden in “simultaneity.” The problem with that, is that each of us is just one person. None of us can be everywhere at once, and we can only concentrate on one or MAYBE two things, at a time. We are lead to believe our inability to do financial calculations while talking on the phone and reading a trade publication means we are somehow a failure as a business person.

Multitasking is a trap.

Multitasking actually causes us to fail. Or at least to settle for mediocrity in just about everything we need to do. If you’re only giving a fraction of your attention to any one thing, each of those things will be completed with a fraction of its potential to be done right. And THAT model was what the Gurus were telling everyone to adopt and embrace! How many resumes have you read with “Excellent Multitasker” somewhere near the top? How many times have those words spontaneously sprung up during job interviews over the past 20+ years? Rather like saying your “greatest weakness” is that you’re a workaholic. Everybody expects you to say it, and nobody really believes it.

Personal Productivity means doing one thing at a time, to the best of your ability.

OK. So maybe you can iron a shirt well enough, even while listening to the radio and chatting with a friend on the phone. However, you might have noticed that if the person on the other end of the conversation asks you an important question, you’ll stop ironing without even thinking about it, while you concentrate on the answer. We instinctively know that Focus is necessary for important tasks. The real “Secret to Success” (if there is such a thing) is to bring all of your mental focus to the most important task in front of you. When did that concept become outdated?

Prioritize your tasks, then give them your full attention.

If you really want to get a lot done in your day, don’t try to do everything at once; sit down and make a list of what you need to get done in a day, a week, a month… Put the most important thing first, then get that done. If you’re in charge, you are the only person qualified to know what the most important things for your business are. Sales? Marketing? Design? Production? A prioritized, written list, delineating your day or week or month, will allow you to accomplish more in an hour than your competitor gets done all day.

Sure, interruptions are going to happen. The phones will ring (our very favorite interruption) and issues will crop up which only you can deal with. That’s why you’re the Boss. And when you have solved whatever problem you were handed –by giving it your full attention– get back to your list and continue focusing on the most important task at hand.

If you’d like to learn more tips and tricks for increasing your Personal Productivity, one of our favorite clients here at Front Office Staff, Strategic Essentials Inc., teaches it every day. They offer all kinds of workshops and seminars right here in Reno to help business professionals like us increase our profits and reduce our stress.
No need to thank me. ;-)

Rena Zatica