Small Business Owners: Why Multitasking is Not the Answer
Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
As a small business owner, I spend a great deal of my time in front of groups of people, delivering workshops, facilitating planning sessions, convening and leading large group engagement events, and consulting on critical client business issues.
Until about 10 years ago, I believed that my ability to multitask was one of the things that set me apart. Imagine my surprise when I learned that I was wrong. Not only that, but I found I wasn’t doing myself any favors by trying to develop multitasking skills.
Here is what I have discovered about multitasking:
It is impossible.
The brain can switch between tasks at such a speed that it seems like multitasking. But according to Earl Miller, a Picower professor of neuroscience at MIT, even when we think we’re multitasking we can really only focus on one thing at a time.
It diminishes quality.
Clifford Nass, professor and researcher at Stanford University and author of The Man Who Lied to His Laptop, told an interviewer on NPR’s “Science Friday” that “the research is almost unanimous, which is very rare in social science, and it says that people who chronically multitask show an enormous range of deficits. They’re basically terrible at all sorts of cognitive tasks, including multitasking.”
It harms the ability to focus.
According to Nass, people who regularly multitask have trouble focusing on just about anything, though they don’t realize it. “People who multitask can’t filter out irrelevancy,” Nass told NPR. “They can’t manage a working memory. They’re chronically distracted.”
How you can retrain your brain and get focused
I knew that if I were to continue thinking I could to it all, my multitasking habit would harm my work and, in turn, my clients. So, I had to do something to retrain my brain and gain focus.
If you’re looking to break your multi-tasking habit and work smarter, try mediation. It doesn’t require long periods of time sitting in a cross-legged position, and it can be very useful in helping improve concentration.
Many people develop the habit by starting with three to five minutes a day. Through continual practice, you can lengthen the periods of concentration and reduce the frequency of distractions.
Any time you feel distracted, or are trying to do too many things at once, take a short breather and clear your head. Close your eyes and focus on a word or sound, not allowing your mind to stray. After you’ve cleared your head, you’ll be able to get back to work with a new sense of clarity.
Among the benefits I have enjoyed from letting go of my multitasking mindset:
When I stopped trying to multitask, the quality of my work—and my life—improved. I was able to get plenty of things done, but do so without the chaos I dealt with before. What would you have to let go of, and what would you gain, if you stopped trying to multitask?
Jamie Showkeir is co-founder and owner of henning-showkeir & associates, inc., an organizational development consulting business with an extensive and varied client list. He is co-author (with Maren Showkeir) of two books, Authentic Conversations: Moving from manipulation to truth and commitment (Berrett-Kohler, 2008) and Yoga Wisdom at Work: Finding Sanity Off the Mat and On the Job (2013).
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.