In principle, even though multi-tasking seems ever more popular, the fact remains that focusing on one goal at a time is the surest way to achieve them. Juggling many balls may appear impressive, but the more balls in the air the greater the chance of dropping one, or several. Groups are especially prone to failure when trying to do too many things at once, and especially prone to success when everyone is focused on a single task.
Of course, to focus on a single task the single task must be well defined. Many groups flounder because the participants are not clear on what they are supposed to be doing. Absent a well-defined problem to be solved or objective to be achieved, group members can’t be blamed for coloring outside the lines or getting off track. What lines? What track?
Practical tip: When you meet with others to make a decision, define the task at hand and then focus on achieving it. Resist the temptation to simultaneously check e-mail or have side conversations or view other screens or work on other projects. Even when bored or when you think you have nothing to contribute, meditate and search within for creative solutions. Listen to others for deep understanding. Quietly jot notes on how things could be better. Even though silent, there are many ways to contribute to the group task.
Discourage other group members from weaving in and out of participation, distracted by other things.
The magic of groups happens when several brains and hearts are focused on a single task. The frustration of groups happens when undefined or multiple tasks suck energy from singleness of purpose.
– Craig Freshley
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6 thoughts on “Single-tasking”
I love this tip! I am really amazed at how aware you are of the problems of work-a-day groups. Of course you work with them and have worked in groups before. Can I ascribe your ability to a good memory? Keep up the good work!
I would also mention to hartfully decide to leave the meeting or project if it just does not make sense for oneself. In that case it makes sense to tell people the reasons.
I can use this tip today! Thanks. And, it reinforces my choice to meet on this one topic instead of adding to the agenda of another meeting. It is always a tough call when adding another meeting to the docket.
I just wanted to take a minute to tell you how valuable your tips are and to thank you for sending them out. I never fail to find something that can help me both in and out of the work environment.
The timing and the detail work well too. Not too often or too much.
Thanks – this tip was timely.
I will share it with colleagues tomorrow.