Multitasking – a useful skill for busy solopreneurs?
Many busy women seem to have a built-in ability to complete several tasks at once. And if you are a mum too who works from home, you may feel you don’t have a choice!
Although it is a long time ago now, I can still remember tending to a teething baby whilst keeping an eye on her toddler sister and overseeing the 7-year-old’s homework, all the while thinking about what to have for dinner… and often preparing it as well!
Add the business call that interrupts all this activity and we may even manage that too.
So, when starting or growing a micro-business based at home, solopreneurs (and mumpreneurs) may feel confident that they can juggle a million and one things! But can you?
We tend to think that our multitasking skills will help us to work faster and get more done in our business.
We have clever technology too to save us time and help us work better.
Our smartphones, for example, enable us to access and reply to email or update social media profiles whilst making coffee. When attending webinars or taking part in a Skype conference call, it may be tempting to write email or instant messages to someone else, at the same time.
After all, is this any harder than listening to the car radio whilst driving, or using driving time to catch up with colleagues or family via a hands-free mobile?
Fitting in multiple tasks seems to be the modern-day reaction to our need to achieve more in less time.
The trouble is, multitasking may not be the answer!
We may not be working as optimally as we think – according to scientists, the brain doesn’t process multiple tasks simultaneously in the way we think it does.
If I am writing this blog in my home office whilst listening to background music and people chatting in another room, it may seem to me that I am doing all this at the same time. However what really happens is that the brain is rapidly switching between the different tasks, rather than simultaneously processing them.
According to research, when doing more than one task, the brain orders them and decides which one to do at any one time. American Psychology professor, David E Meyer, claims that multitasking can slow us down, as the more complex activities a person takes on, the more time they actually take in the long run.
And therefore, it may be difficult to perform several tasks together and each at an optimum level! By choosing to work in this way we risk compromising the quality of our work and increasing the number of errors we make. We may even experience short-term memory problems or difficulties with concentration.
How many times have you rushed juggling two tasks, when something goes wrong and you suddenly find yourself with a third recovery task on your hand?
So whilst multitasking anything other than very simple, automated or routine business tasks, it seems we are actually compromising our efficiency…. plus risk taking much longer to get everything done!
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