Juggling several things at once is your strength but keep them all in the low importance category, and recognize when a task demands focus, attention, and calm if you want to be accurate and productive in the long run. Learn about research on performance
- There are tons of studies and opinions out there on the positives and negatives of multitasking. As extroverts, we have a high capacity for it, but that doesn't mean that we need to engage in it all the time. All tasks are connected on two axes, complexity and skill. The higher the complexity of the task and the skill level required, the fewer things should get in the way. Activity needs to be monodimensional.
If you are an extrovert watching this, you know that you can handle the barrage of social media, electronic information all at once, but probably not while working on an important project. My suggestion to you is that you multitask mindfully by doing some of the following. Schedule your high engagement and interaction times, the larger groups, the one one one meetings, and the calls for the time of the day when your energy is higher. Like my good friend Bob, a fellow extrovert, he enters important meetings without a mobile phone in hand and without the agitation of caffeine in his system.
He tells me that he can be less restless and more patient when he's not amped up. Fit the low skill and low concentration activities to the time of day when you're more tired or drained. This leverages your ability to multitask, and it won't cause you stress. Even though you can handle the juggling, make sure you don't come across as dismissive. Even though you're capable of going through items in your mailbox while following a conversation with a colleague, it doesn't mean that you should, nor does it mean that you're listening with intent.
Follow productivity guru David Allen's two minute email rule. Manage your inbox with two minute emails. Ones you can deal with right away, send off, or delete on the spot. This activity is good for when you are strapped for time and you are low on energy. Leave the thicker, more focused emails for chunks of time and monotask on them. The bottom line with multitasking is that you need to be mindful about the activities you choose to juggle all at once.
Be aware, multitasking with high skill and high complexity activities can decrease focus, learning, and accuracy. You can be more productive by leveraging your extrovert superpower.
- Knowing yourself
- Inward vs. outward
- Being vs. doing
- Stretching the introvert
- Making decisions
- Influencing and leading others
- Stretching the extrovert
- Multitasking mindfully
- Networking strategically