One of the things that I had promised myself while on this trip in Pittsburgh was that I was going to do a lot of catch up reading.
The first book that I started and finished all on Monday was Dave Crenshaw’s The Myth of Multitasking: How “Doing It All” Gets Nothing Done. As a recovering Multitask-er (or Switchtasker as he puts it) I was excited to get to this book. Keep reading for my perspective on this book, key points discussed and how you can get your own copy.
Recovery from the Multi-Tasking Myth
Before I go into what Dave has to say about Multitasking, I thought it would help to share a personal story. You see, back when I was in college and on into my corporate jobs after I thought that I was the world’s best multi-tasker! I always had a million projects going at the same time and believed that keeping all of the plates spinning at the same speed was the best and most effective way to work. In fact, the more I had on my plate, the more “dedicated” I was to my job. If I had to work 90 hours a week to get all of those things done, then that is what I did and I wanted everyone to know it! (Yes, not very healthy, I know.)
Since then I have done a lot more learning on effective and productive work systems and have learned that I was not accurate in my thinking. You see, multitasking is a myth! No matter how hard I tried, I could not get my brain to think two things at the exact same time.
I’m a “recovering” multi-tasker. I still fall back into bad habits every now and again. Sometimes it is hard to not jump into those habits when others ask about competing priorities, however, deep down, I know that I will not get as much done if I do that.
I have read numerous (count 100s) of time management books and this one is one of the best. While the book covers a topic that many dread, Dave has done an outstanding job of storytelling that hits on very important points on successful time/priority management.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book was not written in text-book-how-to-manual style. Instead, Dave tells a story that outlines all of the lessons he taught one executive client and the positive results that came out of the interaction. I opened the book early Monday afternoon and read it cover-to-cover in one sitting. Very entertaining and insightful.
In addition to an entertaining writing style, Dave has added some fabulous exercises at the end of the book that will help you evaluate your situation and start making positive changes in a short amount of time.
If you are someone that struggles with attention deficit disorder or someone that has difficulty focusing on the task at hand, The Myth of Multitasking is a must read.
What It Covers
- Interruptions by co-workers and employees throughout the day
- Distractions from electronic sources, such as e-mail, voice-mail, “Crackberries”, and computers
- Difficulty focusing on the task at hand
- Inability to pay attention to others when they are speaking
- The rumor that women are better multitaskers than men
- Juggling work and home life at the same time
- The important nature of strategic standing meetings
Doing IT ALL Gets Nothing Done
I won’t give it away, but this book has a great exercise on how to prove that multitasking makes it harder to actually get things done. Do the exercise and you’ll see for yourself!
Email, Instant Messaging & Text Messages Oh My!
I’ve talked about it before. In today’s society, it is difficult to get away from all of the electronic gadgets that keep us “on” all of the time. Unplugging, even for a short while, is not readily accepted by our co-workers, clients, friends and family. (But not impossible! I’m actually in a Pittsburgh hotel room as I write this post doing just that!) The false assumption is that the more gadgets we have, the more we can get done. The reality is that the more gadgets we have the more we can get done half-way. Completing projects and tasks is harder than ever for most of my clients.
Interruptions Cost You More Than You Think!
In a way that most of today’s workers can relate, Dave illustrates the constant interruptions by our technology and others knocking on our office door. He shows you how to handle those interruptions and how to deal with the distracting electronic communication too! This fairly new story is great for
- too-busy-to-talk-to-you-or-anyone-else professionals
- and just about the rest of the white-collar labor market
What Do You Think? What Book Do You Recommend?
Do you think that there is merit in multitasking?
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?
Have you read a great book lately that my readers would like to know about? Please let us know! Share your thoughts here! Scroll down and use the comment section. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
To your success!