Years ago, I use to proudly state I was the ultimate multi-tasker. Over the last year, I have noticed that my multi-tasking skills were simply a coping mechanism and the quality of each task I was doing began to deteriorate. At that moment in time I did not notice it, but now I am aware I am making an effort to stop and focus on the moment. I am finding I can do the task in half the time it would have taken if I just turn off all distractions and concentrate fully on the matter at hand.
Let me share with you an example. It was early one morning before school and I was packing for a trip (yes I pack literally right before I walk out the door). I was checking emails and making sure the kids were up and getting ready for school. I heard a ding and thought it was a text. I opened it and it was an automated message from the school. “Children should wear their gym uniform today.” I quickly tell the kids, they put on their gym uniform and I get them on the bus. I get out the door with my bags packed and I am off to a customer meeting.
When my daughter gets home from school that day she says “Mom, are you sure you got a text about the gym uniform?” I reply, “ Yes”, but doubt enters my mind. My daughter said she was the only one who wore her gym uniform to school that day. She said all day long every class she went to the teacher would ask her why was she wearing her gym uniform? She replied, my mom got a text this morning from the principal that said wear your gym uniform. They all accepted that answer. When she got home, she made me check my phone. I found the text, the text was from last year. I have no idea where the message with the “new text message ding” was, but it certainly did not apply to a gym uniform. We both laughed really hard about it and I proceed to tell her it was a great lesson, when you are confident in your answers, right or wrong, anyone will believe you. She was happy she did not get demerits and we moved on.
I then looked back at the emails I sent that morning. I had missing words and other errors in the emails. The emails lacked basics like greetings and introductions. They truly appeared rushed. I stopped for a minute and thought this multitasking thing is not all that is cracked up to be and it’s actually hurting me – not helping me. This is not the image I want to portray or the quality of work that I expect from myself.
The next day I got up, I decided I would try to “BEE in the moment”. When I was on the phone, I would concentrate on the call. When I was talking to the kids, I would drop everything I was doing and really listen. When I was doing email, I would set aside time on my calendar to just answer emails without distractions. I started to notice two things. The quality of my work and interactions went up but more surprising to me, I was completing tasks quicker and more efficiently. A meeting that would have taken an hour, when I asked everyone including myself to close their laptops and focus on the discussion, was finished productively in half the time.
I highly recommend you spend a day “Bee”-ing in the moment for the full day. You will notice a big change. I also recommend you put a post it on your computer that says simply BEE in the moment. Use it as a mantra and a reminder when you pick up that call, go the meetings, talk to your family or friends that you really focus on that one activity. Trust me, you will thank yourself later for it.
Buzz-Worthy Lesson: BEE in THE MOMENT for 24 hours and say no to multi-tasking.