Don’t Multitask … Single Task

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Many fundraisers view multitasking  as a strength.  In fact, it’s often given as a response to the “Name one of your strengths” job interview question.

But multitasking is not a strength, it’s simply our default reaction when we’re juggling too many competing tasks and priorities.  When you’re multitasking, you are actually switching your focus back and forth between items very quickly, because the human mind is not actually capable of focusing on more than one task at a time.

The problem with multitasking is that each time we switch our focus we actually experience a disruption in performance.  Psychologists have termed this disruption “switching cost.”  Studies have shown that the typical switching cost is 64 seconds.  So, every time you switch to a different task you lose 64 seconds of productivity.

Any guesses on the number one multitasking / switching cost instigator in the workplace?  Yep … excessive email checking (but we’ll save fixing that for another day).

What’s the answer?  It’s simple … choose a task and focus solely on it until you have a reason to switch tasks (a meeting, a phone call, lunch, etc.).  Don’t multitask … single task. You’ll find that you’re able to get a lot more done and actually have time to get out of the office and meet with your donors.

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