January 19, 2015

Un-Divide Your Attention


Muti-tasking is thankfully becoming a negative term in enlightened, evolved leadership circles. Unfortunately, these circles make up a mere 20% of workplaces. The majority of organizations still revere the so-called multi-tasking “skill,” falsely believing it leads to accomplishment and efficiency. You can’t be a detail-oriented multi-tasker.

You’ve observed and participated in this environment many times before…probably still do.  People talk to each other’s turned faces while emailing, texting, memo-writing, document-drafting, etc. Everyone’s in frantic race-mode, juggling multiple activities and equating busyness with productivity. The results: Mistakes, misunderstandings, and malaise – that feeling of debility, discomfort, depression and fatigue.

To prevent avoidable mistakes and improve your job performance:

  1. Focus your attention on completing one task, or an identified portion of one task, at a time.
  2. Break up large tasks into manageable chunks and take 10-minute micro-breaks between 30-minute uninterrupted work sessions on those tasks.
  3. Tackle tasks you’re able to complete, or otherwise collaborate and delegate.
  4. Concentrate on the conversation you are having or the activity you are doing. Avoid distractions like technology by silencing the phone and telling colleagues you’ll be available in X amount of minutes.
  5. Stay present and alert by making eye contact and verbally as well as nonverbally connecting with the person you’re talking to.
  6. Set up sound organizational systems and design your office to increase efficiency — have everything you need for a meeting, a call, or a project in front of you so you’re able to pay full attention, focus and concentrate.


Lee Broekman is a communication coach and trainer. Her company Organic Communication, brings interactive, never boring, always edifying keynote presentations, retreats, seminars and CLEs, like Time and Memory Management for Executives: How to Boost Your Productivity and Maximize Your Resources, to your firm or organization.