written by john lewis

It’s actually a really really stupid idea

I wrote this post last year and saved it as draft only to promptly forget about it. The links are to older posts and I know this has been continuously discussed since then – but I still think it’s relevant. Enjoy :)

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Did you know multitasking makes us stupid? It really does. Research is starting to pour out on this point and I get the feeling too few people are paying attention. Consider the way Itzy Sabo puts it.

How quickly would you be fired for being stoned on pot at work?

Or to rephrase this, how quickly would you be fired for multi-tasking at work?

Research found that people who completed an IQ test while multitasking actually scored lower than people who took that same test while stoned.

And he’s not the only one to start attacking our culture of multitasking. Alexander Kjerulf of Positive Sharing talked about a CNN study into the work and time habits of 12 reasonably well known leaders.

His favorite answer was this one:

I know that it’s de rigeur for executives to start the day extremely early, but frankly I feel I make better decisions and relate better to people when I’m well rested. So I usually get up around 8 after a good night’s sleep.

I also make sure to work a standard 40-hour week and never work in the weekends. This is important to me for two reasons. First of all, I have a life outside of work. I have a family who likes to have me around and friends and hobbies that I also want to have time for. I find that the time I spend outside of work recharges my batteries, expands my horizons and actually makes me more efficient at work.

Secondly, if I’m always seen arriving at the office at 6 in the morning and leaving at 9 in the evening, not to mention taking calls and writing emails late at night and all weekend, it’s sure to send a signal to my employees that this is what the company expects, that this is “the right way”. But it isn’t.

It’s a simple fact that for most leaders and employees, the first 40 hours they work each week are worth much more to the company than the next 20, 30 or 40 hours. But those extra hours spent at work can harm your private life, your family and your health. Which in turn becomes damaging to the company.

Frankly, if you can’t structure your time so your work fits inside a 40-hour week, you need to get better at prioritizing and delegating.

Only, not one of the 12 leaders gave that response – or even came close… It makes for interesting reading.

For your reading:
The cult of overwork – Chief Happiness Officer
The cult of overwork again – Chief Happiness Officer
Multitasking makes us stupid? – Creating Passionate Users
How quickly would you be fired for being stoned on pot at work? – Email Overloaded

Posted in: Productivity



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