Catching Rabbits and “Trying” To Multi-Task
This really has nothing to do with small business marketing ideas, but I think you’ll be able to find some hidden benefits you can apply to your business (or life)…
A really good friend of mine once told me, “You can’t catch one rabbit chasing five”. Well being a ‘city boy’ I never chased rabbits…so the lesson didn’t hit me like I’m sure he intended it.
So, I just figured something out about multi-tasking. We can’t truly do it. (Yeah, I know I can be slow sometimes), but these are some of the things small businesses entrepreneurs deal with.
There was a study done that scientifically proved that the human brain can only consciously think one thought at a time. Therefore, we can really only do ‘one thing at a time’ that requires thought. Like a computer, you brain can switch back and forth between two tasks (thoughts) quickly..creating the appearance of multitasking; but just as a computer, it can only process one thing at a time.
Now you may be sitting there saying, “Hey, I can watch the tele and read a book; or talk on the phone and make a cup of coffee…etc.” And you can do these things, but here’s something to consider: You’re only consciously concentrating on one thing at a time. Making coffee is most likely a ’subconscious/non-conscious’ activity burned into your subconscious that you could do with your eyes closed. Same as watching tele.
Here’s how this impacts projects, jobs, etc.
Think about this:
If you’re working on 5 projects simultaneously, you’re giving each project 20% of your time, 20% of your effort, 20% of your energy, and you’re getting about 20% momentum.
Even if you work on one project per day (in a 5 day week), you’re still not giving each project the time it deserves to be as successful as it could be. Why?
Momentum and creative intelligence.
Before you think I’m going off into left field, let me explain what I mean:
Think about a car. Even the fastest car takes at least 4 second to get from 0-60mph. Well, what if that car went from 0-20, then stopped. Then started again. Then got to 30mph, then stopped. Then started again.
The car never reached it’s full potential. Especially in the same time that it would have it just went from 0-60.
So imagine things operating at 20%. Your oven, your lights, your computer…the list goes on. Think about that for a moment, what of you car only started 20% of the time. What if the bank’s computer only worked 20% of the time (if you’re with BOA, you know how this feels already)… Or you go to deposit your money and the teller says, “sorry, only 20% of your deposit went through”.
This is exactly what we’re trying to do when we ‘multi-task’ by doing 4 or 5 projects at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great idea to diversify your revenue streams, but the key is to get one thing going at 100% (or as close to it as possible) then move on to the next thing.
Another reason this is detrimental to peak productivity is creative ‘universal’ intelligence.
Have you ever been working on a project and you were stuck on something, then 3-4 days later, you sitting somewhere, eating ice cream or something totally non-related, then “BAM” the idea hits you that solves the problem you were working on?
Well this is a creative intelligence that’s in all of us. It works when our conscious mind is distracted doing other things – on a sub conscious level. Unfortunately, when we’re working on 5 things at the same time, that subconscious intelligence is working at 20% as well and only gives you 20% of the ideas, 20% of the problem-solving ability, 20% of the inspiration it normally would.
The moral of the story: Do one thing at a time.
Unless you’re able to tap into the other 90% of the brain that most people don’t have use of and you can truly multi-task, then do one thing at a time. Get it done, and move on to the next thing.