Focus on One Thing at a Time
What are you doing right now? Are you focusing on reading these words? Do you have an eye on your email, texts, or social media? If you are working from home, are you dealing with your children? Or maybe you are doing some combination of these activities. Or are you on the phone? We all think we can multi-task and do it well, but the truth is we can’t.
When you are on the phone, can you hear the keyboard and mouse clicks on the other end of the line? Are they taking notes or looking up something relevant to the conversation, or are they surfing Twitter or Facebook? Or maybe they are reading an unrelated, substantive email? You know they weren’t listening when they ask you to repeat what you just said after you ask them a question because they don’t know what you asked.
Doing any of these activities while talking to someone on the phone is comparable to looking at your emails and texts while in a meeting or at lunch with someone. In both cases you are checked out and telling the person speaking, or the person you are dining with, that, they are not as important as whatever is on your phone.
It simply is very hard to focus on two things (or more) at once. Being your best possible self and doing your best work matters. It’s your reputation and people will remember.
For a week (or for those truly device or multi-tasking addicted, a day) try to focus on what is in front of you, whether a person or a project. If you are heading into a meeting, don’t bring your phone or leave it in your pocket or handbag. Better yet, turn it off. When you are on the phone, leave that mouse alone and keep things that interest you off of the screen(s) in front of you. If you have room and a wireless headset, get up and walk around to help focus you on the conversation.
This is about focus and respect. No one may know you are trying to multi-task other than you, but it is amazing what you learn when you actually listen.
As always, this post and others can be found on my blog, Business Law Guy.
About the Author: Neal Bookspan is a partner at the Phoenix, Arizona law firm of Jaburg Wilk. He assists clients with business issues, commercial litigation, workouts, and bankruptcy litigatio. Neal can be reached at 602.248.1000.