Do you multi-task?

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Apr 11, 2007 11:22 pm

In an attempt to diverge from the topic of "that" brokerage firm that only

traumatizes it's employees, I offer:



A growing body of research, as reported in the New York Times, and

elsewhere is suggesting that multitasking offers no advantages at all.



“Multitasking is going to slow you down, increasing the chances of

mistakes,” David E. Meyer, a cognitive scientist and director of the Brain,

Cognition and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan told the

Times.



Similarly, the brain may be a powerful organic machine, but it has a “core

limitation” of being unable to concentrate on two things at once, René

Marois, a neuroscientist and director of the Human Information

Processing Laboratory at Vanderbilt University, told the Times.



So, what do the experts advise?



1. Check email messages once an hour, at most. Research shows that

people take about fifteen minutes to recover from a single email

interruption.

2. Don’t rely too much on memory. Use to-do lists to unload tasks and

ideas from your memory, and then revisit those lists when you’re fully

ready to move onto the next task.

3. Listen to soothing background music while studying but not songs

with lyrics.

4. Don't drive while talking on a cellphone, even with a hands-free

headset.

5. Don’t do too much. Focus your efforts on tasks and projects that

produce strong revenue, and say no to those that don’t.

Apr 11, 2007 11:36 pm

I read a good book on time management that talked a LOT about this issue.

I'm working on adapting some of those habits.  It can be difficult to get out of the habit of multi tasking when you've done it so long and feel like you have so much to get done.  But little by little I'm improving, and it HAS made my workday more pleasant AND more productive.

Apr 11, 2007 11:45 pm

You forgot to mention having a blackberry or similar device. And you need to allow time to jump on the forums to catchup a couple of times a day, too.


Good advice.  Covey couldn't have said it better.  And reading/deleting email would be a good one to add.  Don't get caught up with the email fwds: I only fwd good ones and don't bother reading the lenghy ones or chains.


 Interesting sig:


Your wife doesn't care whether you've made your money in a couple of hours or a couple of decades.


Hmmm, well, she might since it would be a couple of decades, that would be LESS mney over time...less shopping for her to do. But I'm female and have fuzzy math skills.

Apr 11, 2007 11:49 pm
goforbroke:

You forgot to mention having a blackberry or similar device. And you need to allow time to jump on the forums to catchup a couple of times a day, too.


Good advice.  Covey couldn't have said it better.  And reading/deleting email would be a good one to add.  Don't get caught up with the email fwds: I only fwd good ones and don't bother reading the lenghy ones or chains.


 Interesting sig:


Your wife doesn't care whether you've made your money in a couple of hours or a couple of decades.


Hmmm, well, she might since it would be a couple of decades, that would be LESS mney over time...less shopping for her to do. But I'm female and have fuzzy math skills.



You're female? That explains a lot.

Apr 11, 2007 11:51 pm

If you remeber the name of the helpful book, please share the name.



about managing email:



Rather than filing messages according to subject matter or sender, file

them according to when you need to act on them. To set up this system,

create three mailboxes (one for each type of message that demands your

attention).



Start with an Act On mailbox to hold messages that require action but

that you can’t process right away. Next, create a Waiting For mailbox for

messages that you can’t act on until someone provides you with

additional information. And finally, create a Read & Review mailbox for

lower-priority messages that you’ll look at when you have time.

Apr 11, 2007 11:55 pm
skeedaddy2:

If you remeber the name of the helpful book, please share the name.

about managing email:

Rather than filing messages according to subject matter or sender, file
them according to when you need to act on them. To set up this system,
create three mailboxes (one for each type of message that demands your
attention).

Start with an Act On mailbox to hold messages that require action but
that you can’t process right away. Next, create a Waiting For mailbox for
messages that you can’t act on until someone provides you with
additional information. And finally, create a Read & Review mailbox for
lower-priority messages that you’ll look at when you have time.


You guys aren't using email to communicate with clients, are you? I never do that.

Apr 11, 2007 11:59 pm

I don't know why, but I feel better posting these tips.



Start by stripping your e-mail directory structure down to seven basic

folders, each defined by the action that its messages require



> Inbox

For unread and unprocessed items only.



> Respond

For messages requiring only short responses that can be ticked off in five

minutes or less. You’ll periodically go through this folder and send off

those quick responses.



> Action

For e-mail that requires anything beyond a quick response—work,

research, or a detailed answer.





Reduce your folders: Cut down on the amount of e-mail folders you have,

and define each by the kind of action that the messages inside it require.



> Hold

For items—such as new login information and package-tracking URLs—

that you’ll want close by in the next few days; prune weekly.



> Waiting

For mail that’s likely to require action when its sender gets back to you.



> Archive

For anything you want to save for future reference. This is where you can

put all those subfolders for particular projects or topics that you’re

probably using now. But with all the search tools available in today’s e-

mail clients, you may even be able to do without those.



> Trash

For spam, junk, and anything you’ll never need again.

Apr 12, 2007 12:00 am

Sometimes you have to take in account what type of person you are: personality type.  MyersBriggs.


Some types:  like lots of books, info.  I figure once I retire, I'll give my books to charity but as long as I'm working, I might need them for "reference" info.  There are some who work better with messy desks although disorganization causes more STRESS.  I would imagine that sales people are very good with their time management; however, I suppose if they have good days, they might goof off or relax a little, too, depending on whether they had good month.


Speaking of personality types: it would seem that most people in sales would have similar style: influencing/outgoing.  Of course, some people can be a certain way on a job and be more reclusive/introvertish when they're off work, too.

Apr 12, 2007 12:02 am
goforbroke:

Your wife doesn't care whether you've made your

money in a couple of hours or a couple of decades.



Hmmm, well, she might since it would be a couple of decades, that would

be LESS mney over time...less shopping for her to do. But I'm female and

have fuzzy math skills.





Apr 12, 2007 12:05 am
skeedaddy2:


5. Don’t do too much. Focus your efforts on tasks and projects that produce

strong revenue, and say no to those that don’t.





Remember ABC? Always Be Closing.

Apr 12, 2007 12:10 am
skeedaddy2:

If you remeber the name of the helpful book, please share the name.



about managing email:



Rather than filing messages according to subject matter or sender, file

them according to when you need to act on them. To set up this system,

create three mailboxes (one for each type of message that demands your

attention).



Start with an Act On mailbox to hold messages that require action but

that you can’t process right away. Next, create a Waiting For mailbox for

messages that you can’t act on until someone provides you with

additional information. And finally, create a Read & Review mailbox for

lower-priority messages that you’ll look at when you have time.



I think it was called "Never Check Your Email in the Morning" by Judy somebody.  Or that might have been the subtitle.  I don't have it right nearby at the moment..  I'll post it for you tomorrow if I remember.

Apr 12, 2007 12:26 am

Delegation Instructions



Make sure the standards and the outcome are clear. What needs to be

done, when should it be finished and to what degree of quality or detail?



Delegate the objective, not the procedure. Outline the desired results, not

the methodology.

Ask people to provide progress reports. Set interim deadlines to see how

things are going.

Delegate to the right person. Don't always give tasks to the strongest,

most experienced or first available person.

Spread delegation around and give people new experiences as part of

their training.

Obtain feedback from employees to ensure they feel they're being treated

appropriately. A simple "How's it going with that new project?" might be

all that's needed.

Be sure to delegate the authority along with the responsibility. Don't

make people come back to you for too many minor approvals.

Trust people to do well and don't look over their shoulders or check up

with them along the way, unless they ask.

Be prepared to trade short term errors for long term results.

When you finish giving instructions, the last thing to ask is, "What else do

you need to get started?" They'll tell you.

Give praise and feedback at the end of the project, and additional

responsibilities.

Apr 12, 2007 12:28 am

OK, last one today.



Reduce Stress with the SPARKLE Formula



S – Sleep well.



Your bed is for sleeping, reading and intimacy.

When your head hits the pillow, it’s time to sleep, not think

Your bed should NOT be for: watching television, balancing your

checkbook, planning the next day, arguing with your spouse, checking

your e-mail, or making phone calls.

When in bed, books are OK, laptops are not.

P – Plan every day.



Create a to-do list every morning. This gives you a) a roadmap of what

you need to do at the beginning of the day, b) a reminder of what still

needs to be done throughout the day and c) a place to check off your

accomplishments at the end of the day

A – Anticipate less.



Recognize the false assumptions you make that lead to anxiety. Will

things really turn out to be as bad as you think? Probably not.

When you look to the future, visualize success rather than failure. After

all, you really don’t know which it will be. So why not expect the best?

R – Relax.



Breath deeply when you feel stressed. Get up and change your

environment, if only for a short time.

Go for a walk at lunch.

Relaxation means taking a break from what you were doing, not just

“vegging out.” For instance, watching television isn’t always relaxing; it

can be dumbing and dulling. Find activities that calm your body and

stimulate your mind.

Create a time for your own kind of meditation. Find a quiet space and a

quiet time that’s just for you.

K – Keep Anger under control.



Be empathetic and forgiving to others when they make mistakes. Like

you, they’re trying to do their best.

Learn to give constructive feedback rather than destructive criticism.

When someone makes you angry, remember that you have a choice in

how you react. Instead of yelling at that bad driver who cut you off, do a

running play-by-play on his erratic driving techniques. It’s more fun.

L – Laugh.



Use positive affirmations to keep yourself on track.

Affirmations should use the 4 P’s; personal, positive, passionate and

present. For instance, “I am a confident and successful manager who

always runs an amazing team.”

Find time to share a joke. Laugh at the curves life throws at you rather

than fretting over them.

E – Eat Well and Exercise.



Your body needs to be a well-tuned machine to manage all of the

stresses that act on it.

Avoid eating packaged snacks – anything that comes in a wrapper or

plastic bag. Try natural fruit instead.

Add more colored vegetables to your meals.

Reduce caffeine in your diet. It’s a stimulant and can exacerbate physical

symptoms of stress that you may already have. Choose water instead.

Avoid the escalator or elevator and take the stairs.

Find opportunities to go for a walk. Ideally, get exercise that causes you

to sweat for twenty minutes at least three times per week.