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Multi-tasking is a Way to Do Many Things Halfway at the Same Time

What are you doing right now? Are you focusing on reading these words, or do you have an eye on your email, texts, social media, or maybe all of them?  Or are you on the phone?  We all think we can do this and do it well, but the truth is we can’t. Real multi-tasking is not achievable.

When I am on the phone during the day, I can hear the keyboard and mouse clicking on the other end of the line. I try to be optimistic and think they are taking notes or looking up something relevant to the conversation. But the reality is they are checking email or surfing the internet. The true clue is when they ask you to repeat what you said multiple times during an 8- or 10-minute call.

The truth is that this is the same as looking at emails and texts while in a meeting or at lunch with someone. Doing so in a meeting means you’re checked out. If you are one who checks your phone while at coffee or lunch with someone, you are telling them that they are not as important as whatever is on your phone. This isn’t a good message to send to anyone.

The fact is that it’s very hard to focus on two things (or more) at once. A good exercise is to try for a week to focus on what is in front of you. If you have a meeting, don’t bring your phone; leave it in your pocket or purse, or turn it off. Figure out what will work for you to focus on what’s in front of you. When you’re on the phone, leave that mouse alone and keep things that interest you off the screens in front of you. Maybe get up and walk around the room instead of staring at your screens and trying not to check email or that webpage.

Remember that this is about respect for others and focusing on the conversation. If you focus, you will see that it’s amazing what you learn when you are actively listening.

As always, this post and others can be found on my blog, Business Law Guy.

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