Pop Quiz: Have you ever worked with someone who micromanaged everything? You know, the one person in middle management who may have appeared to be an overachiever during the probationary period and did everything. I’m talking someone with basic skills who would handle customer service, inventory, sales, marketing and even lock up at the end of the day.
To management that person was indispensible. They had talent coming out of the yingyang. There was nothing that could throw them off course as they had the right answer or solution to each and every possible scenario. To some of us that person was a real pain. A suck-up sort of who made guys like me look rather pathetic in our single task per day employment journey.
Micromanaging Is The Same As Multitasking
Here’s your a-ha moment: How many of those micromanaging types that you encountered along the way were successful? Chances are none of them were. Sure, it looked good on paper but in reality, micromanaging multitaskers run out of gas. But more importantly, they prove why focus is the only way to get things done as it is actually more efficient.
Let me explain why that is. When you multitask you may think you are mastering the art of time management but instead you are jamming in too many things within the same allotment of time. Sooner or later something’s gotta give. The last thing you need is a stroke because your top priority slipped down a few notches when you were doing 16 things at the same time.
The Working Hard But Hardly Getting Any Work Done Deal
Multitasking is great. Don’t get me wrong. There is only one sensible place where multitasking belongs. That would be inside the software program of your average computer. Hey, just for fun, take a look at your current computer. You probably have a few windows open, a couple of programs running in the background and maybe even some tunes playing.
It works seamlessly in this sort of atmosphere simply because the brain of your computer was actually designed to micromanage every task you throw at it. Your computer is designed to operate multiple systems at the same time because – and here’s the kicker – your brain is not wired that way. It never will be unless a hybrid human-cyborg race was to surface.
The Better Way To Stay On Track Is To Use Focus
You’ve probably been accused of having a one-track mind. Well, oddly enough, that is actually a compliment because following one single track on a project from start to finish is the foundation of time management. Sure, that task may take longer to complete but once it’s a done deal, you can move on to something else and attack it with the same gusto and steady focus.
Here’s the sexy part about focus, you work less but you produce better results. It’s time tracking at its best as you can put in all the effort that you would have in the multitasking days but instead of spreading that energy over 16 different tasks, you put all of it into just finishing one task at a time. You won’t forget something and your priority list stays intact.
For instance, and I used to think I was a multitasker, there was a time when I could easily do two things at once. You know, drink coffee and daydream. That, but the way, would be my limit. Just ask my wife. She’ll make it abundantly clear that I am anything but a multitasker today. Hell, I have trouble remembering to do the things she wants me to do today.
Time Tracking Your Priorities Becomes Simplified
So instead of trying to get everything done all at once as you would as a multitasker, using focus forces you to take on these tasks in order of priority. For example, the important stuff first and the less important stuff last. Give yourself a reasonable deadline to get each task completed and before you know it, you’ll end up with quality in those finished tasks that gets noticed.
It sure beats running around in a panic like a chicken with its head cut off. Not that I’ve ever been there but I have worked with people like that. I did mention that earlier, right? Anyway, if your overall goal is to impress management, your parents or that girl you have a crush on, don’t use multitasking as your play. You are going to lose this round for sure.
In Conclusion, Work Smart Not Hard And Still Get Ahead
So, about 700 words ago I started by telling you that multitasking is a lot like micromanaging. It’s you doing everything because that’s what you think the world needs more of – incomplete tasks or tasks that appear to be complete but were not really all that well done. We really are not meant to be multitaskers because our hard drives can’t handle the extra work.
Computers are the best multitaskers and should be the only ones juggling more than one thing at a time. My train of thought from there took us on a bit of a rabbit trail – because I wasn’t paying enough attention to the important stuff. Then eventually I explained that focus is pretty much the secret weapon of all people in the world who are successful or have success.
Are you getting any of this? Essentially what I am saying is that if we were really meant to be remotely effective at multitasking, we’d all have four or six arms and hands. Since that’s not the case, obviously we are supposed to forge ahead working at one task at a time using concentration as our guide and filter. Hey, it makes a boatload of sense to me so it should to you.
So, if you have been brainwashed into believing that multitasking is the only way you will get ahead in the world, do me a favour. Either bookmark this page or print it out and put it somewhere so you can find it one day. You know, that day when you suddenly realize that you’re pretty good at doing 16 things at the same time but you are not so good at finishing them well. Remember, most micromanagers end up unemployed. Have fun with that.