NextGen Know-How: The myth of multitasking

Don’t burn down your business in the quest for ultimate efficiency.

Last week, I almost burned my kitchen down. In my quest to get all the important things done on my list, I was working on several things at once. Although I teach leadership effectiveness for a living, I sometimes get drawn into the busyness of life and slip into bad habits.

I put my lunch on the stove and then went into my office to answer a couple emails while simultaneously making an important phone call. I was so engrossed (and overloaded) that I completely forgot about my lunch. Mushroom kale soup bubbled over the stove and onto the floor. As I was on the phone, I started to smell something burning from the kitchen. Sometimes I need a painful lesson to remind me of the importance of good leadership habits.

Despite what most leaders think, multitasking is overrated. We convince ourselves that we have so much to do that it’s the only way to get things done, but it in actuality, it has a negative effect. Our attention is drawn in so many directions that we end up doing a few things poorly (i.e., a soupy kitchen and an interrupted phone call) instead of doing one thing really well.


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