“I am SO good at multitasking.”
How many times have you heard someone say that? It almost has become a right of passage in the professional/business/sales world. If you can’t multitask, how will you ever get everything done that you need to get done? Salespeople are especially prone to multitask because we have so many customers to talk to, so many sales calls to make, so much administrative work to do, so much travel to plan, etc. Plus we are getting text, calls, emails…the list goes on.
I wonder how we got to this point? It is directly correlated to the technology we have at our fingertips? Was multitasking a thing before smartphones? I’m sure it was…but there were certainly less immediate distractions. Our phones and technology are amazing. I honestly can’t imagine not having my phone and technology. It helps me stay in touch with loved ones, customers, friends, and family, and helps me grow my business. It’s actually incredible how we are able to do so much business from our phones! So what I’m about to say is not a knock against technology. I’m not one of those people. I want to talk about how multitasking actually makes us less productive and hurts our success as sales people and in life in general.
I want to use technology as an example. A study in 2016, from Stanford University’s Department of Psychology (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26223469) demonstrated how “chronic media multitasking is associated with a wider attentional scope/higher attentional impulsivity, which may allow goal-irrelevant information to compete with goal-relevant information.”
What that means is that the non-stop back and forth multi tasking causes us to have a poor working memory, and affects our attention so much that it makes us focus on things that are irrelevant to us accomplishing our goals vs things that help us accomplish our goals.
It’s worth taking some time to read the study.
The implications of this are huge, because it shows that multitasking is making us LESS productive, and make us remember LESS of what we are doing. Due to this, we are less likely to find enjoyment in our work, and less likely to make progress on the goals that are most important to us.
Let’s say as a sales person you sit down to make phone calls. You make your first call, and you take notes afterwards. As you’re taking notes you think you’ll go check out your customer’s facebook page. You do that, and then you see something a friend posted about an upcoming event. You check out that event, which reminds you about a time you did that thing in the past. So you browse photos and start talking to your friend and reminiscing. Before you know it, you’ve lost a substantial amount of time and completely forgot what you sat down to do in the first place. Sound familiar?
This week I will talk more about the dangers of multitasking, but for now I want to share 5 things that you can do NOW to stop multitasking, and see what a difference it makes.
- Turn off Notifications on Your Phone – If you don’t get notifications about everything that is begging for your attention, then you won’t lose attention. Maybe just try it for a few hours until you get used to it. You can do this by turning on “Do Not Disturb Mode.”
- Batch Your Tasks – Instead of letting OTHER people fill your calendar with what’s important to them, fill it with what is important to you. Do you need to make sure you have time for sales calls and reports every day? Then put it on your calendar so that nothing interrupts it. Batching tasks and scheduling the things YOU need to do can help you stay focused because if you have 2 hours blocked out for sales calls and then 30 minutes blocked out for social media, you won’t feel the need to check social media while making calls because you know you have time coming up for that in the near future.
- Use a Timer – Set a timer when you start a new task. Just the act of doing this will help you stay focused…and may help you get the task done faster. When you look at the timer, it will act as a reminder that you are supposed to stay focused on one thing at a time.
- Don’t Over Commit – Do you have a task list of 20 items? When is that last time you accomplished 20 things in a day? How often, at the end of the day, do you bump your tasks to the next day? Chances are you need to reduce what you are planning to do, so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.
- Enjoy the Process – Find happiness in the work you do…not just in the end result. When you start to enjoy the process of work and sales, then you will stop thinking about what is next, and you’ll thrive in the present!
By eliminating multitasking from your routines, you will see that your ability to accomplish your sales goals will greatly increase, and you’ll close more sales!
The Secret to Closing More Sales: Living Life and Eliminating Stress. Get the Living Sales Manual here for FREE to Learn How: http://www.livingsalesbook.com