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Multitaskers: Stop juggling and focus for better business results


Multitasking can hurt productivity.

If you're like most small business owners and entrepreneurs, you wear many hats during a typical day. You find yourself pulled in all directions at once, juggling many balls in the air at any given time. But is this behavior helping or hurting your business?

Multitasking is a fact of life for most of us who rely on technology to keep us connected and relevant. Tending to the relentless stream of emails, texts, tweets, video, instant messages, and standard phone calls can be overwhelming, exhausting and all-consuming. Where is the breathing room?

For small business owners caught in the web of today's current economic down-turn, multitasking has become not only commonplace but expected. In fact, 88 percent of small business owners surveyed by SurePayroll say that multitasking is a "key component" in running a small business, while 56 percent say they routinely juggle three or more tasks at once.

But one in four of these same small business owners admit that multi-tasking leads to a decrease in the quality of their work and their productivity -- and another recent survey supports these concerns.

Late last month Stanford University reported that multitaskers are more susceptible to interferences from irrelevant environmental stimuli, hurting their ability to switch tasks. This inability to differentiate between relevant and irrelevant leads to a decrease in productivity, work quality and a loss of cognitive control.

According to Professor Clifford Nass, one of the researchers, multitaskers are "suckers for irrelevancy...everything distracts them."

For the overburdened small business owner, just knowing that multitasking can actually hinder the success of a business should be a wake-up call. 

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  • Anonymous 4 years ago

    If you are a business owner with employees that wear many hats, and this had led to success in your business and profitibility, do not forsake those employees that agreed to go above and beyond. Your inception into the real world of the marketplace in having to pay 3 salaries and 3 insurances for 3 employees to cover what the one did, is not fiscally sound judgement. Neither is lying to your employees or likening brain surgery with cleaning a fish, to suit a cheap fiscal policy.