Interruptions, A Productivity Killer

On a typical day, you can expect to get caught in the crossfire of interruptions, the unexpected will bubble up, and demands will fall out of the sky at inconvenient times.  Flexicuting will be required.

Yes, we invented the word flexicuting because we can’t think of a better way to describe this skill. Events are so fluid in today’s work environment that we have to change, adapt, and shift our focus all day long.

Flexicuting involves the ability to:

Be as willing to leave your activity list when priorities shift as you are willing to stick with it.
Be able to turn on a dime in the middle of the day when an opportunity presents itself.
Develop the habit of reserving some time every day to deal with the expected/unexpected.
Be wired 24/7 without letting it be a source of distractions and frustration.

Would you like to become better at flexicuting?  Here’s how! Recognize it’s a survival skill by changing your mindset and practice the forgoing flexicuting skills daily. It can be quite fun.

Flexicuting involves the skill of both multi-tasking activities and alternate-tasking activities. It also requires the wisdom to know when to use and when to avoid either of these approaches.

We’ll talk about multi-tasking first. In our society, the term multi-tasking is overused. Even worse, the skill has been elevated to the pinnacle of desirable abilities and we often find ourselves abused—and sometimes abusing—in the execution of multi-tasking because there are some guidelines to multi-tasking that most people aren’t aware of.

The best advice we can give people is to BEWARE OF MULTI-TASKING! Here’s why. When you are executing multiple activities at the same time, none of these activities has your complete focus. If you must multi-task, it should be done only when you combine simple, mindless tasks such as opening your mail and watching the news.

TIP: Never, never, never multi-task while carrying on a conversation with another person.

Multi-tasking, when abused, leads to time contamination. An example of time contamination would be taking your child out for pizza so you can have some quality one-on-one time together, and then taking a cell phone call for fifteen minutes while your child stares into space. Time contamination is also working on your laptop while supposedly watching your child’s soccer game.

Alternate-tasking is the natural result of being wired 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year (24/7/365). Living under these conditions, it makes sense to alternate our work and personal life activities in a way that we can fully experience both. While multi-tasking can contaminate time, alternate-tasking does not.

Alternate-tasking is being 100% where you are. Be 100% in the pizza shop with your child and then place the call after the pizza outing. Alternate-tasking permits us to fully engage all activities without dilution or contamination of the experience.

Alternate-tasking can help you get more done in less time than multi-tasking because, when you are fully engaged, you are more efficient and productive.

TIP: Alternate-tasking requires FOCUS. Begin with tasks that you can get done in 15 minutes or less until and free yourself from interruptions by shutting your door, closing out email, and don’t take calls etc.

By guest contributor, Mark Woods