I recently attended a Dale Carnegie session in which a small debate came up regarding multitasking vs focus. Today there is such a tremendous emphasis placed on the ability to multitask. But is multitasking or a laser like focus better for accomplishing goals? What would Albert Einstein say?
What is multi-tasking
Multitasking is the ability to handle more than one task (type of client, develop more than one skill, do more than one job, etc) at same time. An example of organizational multitasking can be seen as an entrepreneur focusing on a wide group (shot gun approach) to serve verses a niche market (riffle approach).
What’s the fastest way for a small business to reach it’s goal?
Consider a new small business owner with a goal of doing $100,000 in business revenue. What gets her to her goal faster? Multitasking and serving many types of clients or laser focus on a niche market? Generally speaking it’s far easier to start focused on a niche market and expand later than it is to start broad and narrow your focus later.
What would Albert Einstein say?
Consider this example. Bart leaves his home in New Jersey and gets on his skateboard and rides 10 mph north (true north) towards Canada. A third of the way there he decides to divert a little (multi-task) and ride just a little in easterly direction as well…he’s now traveling in a north easterly direction. Bart is still going north, just less north that he was before. Bart will still get to Canada just not as quickly.
This is what Albert Einstein discovered regarding the space time continuum, that an object in motion actually experiences time at a slower rate than one at rest (read it if you are really looking for something to make you go…hmm!). I don’t want to attempt to explain it here but this natrual law as implication for businesses. The simplest way to understand it is to realize that moving in one direction is more efficient than attempting to move in two at the same time. Any attempt to move in the second direction will slow your movement in the first.
While multitasking is sometimes necessary whenever you can move with a laser focus in one direction, toward a single goal, you will get there faster.
Update: Since I’ve written this a debate has erupted Multitasking Men vs Women.