What stops people from starting a business?

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Time Management | Comments Off on What stops people from starting a business?

A busy professional has this question regarding to starting a new business.

What is stopping people from starting a business when they have a good idea?

We all have ideas, skills, knowledge, and experiences learned throughout our lives. We all have thought about our ideas and what we can do with them. From the things we see, hear, and buy, we think about how we can make them better or how we can make something completely new. But what stops people from doing something about it?

Like many things, it is both a combination of things and different for everyone.

Starting a business is scary.

Besides “a good idea”, it takes time, talent, determination, and finances.

Most people are more comfortable with a consistent and reliable income.  After all, the bills will continue to come whether you work for someone or start a new business. Leaving a good paying job with a stable income to jump into a new venture with an unknown income is daunting.

It usually takes a new business about 5 years to become both profitable and consistent.  Most businesses fail within the first two years, because they don’t have the finances to sustain the start-up cost or the time for the product to attract customers.

If you are serious about starting a new business, consider these first steps.

Conduct market research

Even if it’s a good idea or improves a current product, there are lots of things to be considered.

  • Is there a large enough market for this product or improvement to sustain a business?
  • Does it really answer a need that can’t be solved by any other product or service?
  • Are consumers willing to pay a price that not only covers your manufacturing cost but leaves you with a profit?
  • How easy would it be for a competitor to duplicate your product? Is it patentable? Novel? And defendable?
  • Is idea really a business or just a one-hit novelty item?

This requires market research.  You need to investigate the current market need, the competitors, the price people are willing to sustain, how saturated the market is with similar products, etc.  This takes time and money to properly research.

Create a business plan

Successful business owners create a feasibility study and business plan to determine if they should even take this step.   The business plan contains your mission, vision and business goals.  It outlines the required finances.   It not only identifies the start-up costs, but how long it will realistically take to produce a steady income.

It identifies the target market, their demographics, spending habits, need for the product, etc.  I should also include a marketing plan to attract the right clients (those interested in purchasing your product/service at the price you want to command).

Staffing

Then there’s the staffing issue.  Even though it may be your idea, you may not have all the expertise to design, manufacture, market, brand, create the appropriate on-line/offline presence, design the packaging and promote yourself or your product.  There’s also accounting, legal, and competitive analysis.

You will need assistance in many of these areas.  Make sure you have a majority of these activities covered in your business plan.

Finances

Make sure you have the finances to cover the manufacturing, staffing needs and your salary for the next 5 years.  Financing can be acquired through loans, investors, savings, partners, etc.

Make sure you have these finance issues covered in your business plan.

Doing these things before you start your business with accomplish two things:

  • Help decide if your idea is a viable business
  • Increase the likelihood of success

 

Hope this helps a little.

 

As a manager, how can you save your company from going bankrupt?

Posted by on Aug 18, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Taking the Leap, Time Management | Comments Off on As a manager, how can you save your company from going bankrupt?

A busy professional has this question regarding his professional career.

As a manager, how can you save your company from going bankrupt?

I want to know how you would manage a company that is going to fail. Should I give up or should I continue? 

Firstly, I would like to commend you on your desire to assist with the success of the company.  Too many of us see our positions as merely marking the work day time.  We strive to stay in our role and not venture into other areas that can assist in the success of the company (and therefore the success of the whole).

Unfortunately, without knowing your current position/department or relationship with the owners, I can only speak in generalities.  For instance – if you are the manager and NOT the owner, your influence over the company’s success is directly proportionate to your influence over the owners.

Also, sales drive the business bus.  If you are in a direct position to assist with sales, you have a better opportunity to affect revenue.

How much influence do you have

Therefore, the first step is to assess how much influence do you have with the executive branch.

  • If you are manager, are you a lower level manager or do you have direct and regular access to the executive brand?
  • Have the executive brand regularly taken your advice and counsel previously? If they haven’t in the past, they are unlikely to do so in crises.
  • Are you in a position to bring direct change in revenue? Can you bring in immediate sales leads, convert leads into sales quickly, influence current clients to successfully refer your company’s services to others, and not only retain current clients but continually up-sale them to higher priced services.

How much effort do you want to put in

If you have that much insecurity in the success or failure of the venture, do you really want to be the one turning off the lights?  First and foremost, you need to decide what is best for you.

Regardless whether you stay at this company or move on, your goal should continually be to search out what it best for you.

You and your talent are valuable.  So, decide what you want from your effort.

For example:

  • Are you willing to invest money into this company and become an executive partner to save the company?
  • Are you willing to reach out to your family, friends, and business network to locate venture capital, investors or sponsors to save this company? If you decide to do this, make sure the company is worthy of your network and reputation.
  • Are you willing to put your reputation on the line for the success of this company?
  • Are you willing to put in 60-80 hours to make someone else’s company successful?

Should you move on

Decide what you are getting out of this company (both professionally and personally).  If what you are getting out of the company is equal (or better) than what you are putting in – we should chat regarding your specific situation.  With a few more details about the company and your background, I would be able to give additional recommendations specific to your situation.

If it is less, then we should chat regarding your next steps.

It’s a business

At the end of the day, the company will make business decisions.  Many employees will stay loyal to their employers longer than the company can support that loyalty.  Therefore, make the decisions that are best for you and your career.

Hope this helps a little.

How to objectively measure soft skills in employee feedback?

Posted by on Aug 18, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Time Management | Comments Off on How to objectively measure soft skills in employee feedback?

Last article we were discussing “How to give feedback employees will here?”  In that article, we used very objective examples.  It was easy to measure performance against technical tasks, but how does one determine SMART goals for soft or people skills?

Let’s review the same tips, but this time – with soft skills examples.

Setting the stage

Giving an effective feedback starts with understanding your employees’ goals and career objectives.  Once you understand the “why” the employee comes to work – the better you can connect the feedback to their goals.

For example, if they want to eventually lead the team or become a manager, then focus on the skill sets that will help them achieve those goals.

For example:  Managers require:

  • Problem Solving and Decision Making.
  • Planning
  • Delegation
  • Internal Communications.
  • Meeting Management.
  • Managing Yourself

These business goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Attainable, Relevant and Time bound).  With SMART goals, it’s very easy for both the employee and manager to agree whether the goals were met or exceeded.

Some examples of SMART PBC might be:

  • Successfully complete management courses XYZ within 6 months
  • Successfully complete time and project management course ABC within 3 months
  • Successfully participate and deliver executive summary reports in 3 executive staff meetings by Dec 15th
  • Speak at (at least) 2 technical conferences regarding how you solved a critical situation regarding this industry
  • Select and mentor at least 1 person to take over some of your coding, debugging and documentation tasks. Successfully hand-of at least one maintenance project to your protégé.
  • Create and implement an internal communication plan for your department within 3 months
  • Successfully project manage/schedule/budget 1 project start from finish (with supervision) during this performance period

 

As you can see, greeing upon this soft-skills SMART goals actually commits the manager to help her employee succeed.

Barriers to hearing

The most prevalent barrier to hearing and understanding feedback is our mindset.  The moment your supervisor releases a perceived negative comment, we automatically go into defensive mode.  Our brain immediately will find situations that negative what was just been said or provide detailed reasons/excuses for the events.

Best advice is to continually focus on the SMART goals or commitments set at the start of the year.  Use the agreed upon PBCs as your starting point.  Since your PBCs will have specific metrics and goals in place for each performance commitment, it will be easy to determine if the criteria has been met.

For example, If one of the PBC goals was to speak at (at least) 2 technical conferences regarding how you solved a critical situation regarding this industry – it is very easy to tell if they accomplished this goals.

Then simply ask the employee if he/she feels if they have met that particular goal.

Repeat this until all the PBC goals are reviewed.

Making sure employees get it

Once you and the employee have agreed upon the status of the PBC goal, ask their opinion on where to go from here.

For instance, if the employee agrees that he/she did not meet this soft skill goal – you can now start a discussion on where to go from here.

The discussion is focused on working on a solution together. Brainstorm on some titles and abstracts they can present.  Show him/her how to search for technical conferences in your industry and advise him/her to start submitting abstracts.  Once the abstract is accepted, encourage him/her to practice on co-workers and local professional organizations.  Encourage him/her to conduct a webinar or video their talk.  The more they practice, the better their soft skills.

As you can see – these discussions then become the foundation of their next PBC SMART goals.

Keep them involved

At the end of the day, keeping your employees involved and engaged in their own career development is key.

 

When is the best time to add projects to our tracker

Posted by on Aug 16, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Taking the Leap, Time Management | Comments Off on When is the best time to add projects to our tracker

A busy professional has this question regarding time management:

When is the best time to add projects to our tracker, when a client pays or when we receive a RFP (Request for Proposal)?

We are finalizing our project management and service provision policies and although we track work from the moment we have to submit a proposal, we want to make sure we aren’t wasting valuable time tracking projects that don’t follow through. But we still want to be prepared with assignments and tasks when the bottom line is signed.

Clarify your goals for project management

The simple answer is to follow your GOAL.

Is your goal really to not waste valuable time tracking projects that don’t follow through?  Or is your goal to make sure nothing falls through the cracks, that everything runs smoothly and efficiently;  and make sure your quality connectivity is maintained?

If your goal is to make sure nothing falls through the cracks, everything runs smoothly and quality connectivity is maintained – then you really do need someone to track every step from conception through delivery and deployment (and even afterward regarding maintenance and up-sale opportunities).

Every project created equal

Does everyone have to be involved in every step? No.

Does every project have to be handled the same way? No.
Should someone be steering the ship throughout every journey? Yes.
Should someone be collecting metrics throughout every project? Yes.
Do you have to use the same tracker or project plan for every phase? No.
Not every project is created equal.  You don’t have to treat every project the same.  Having said that, you should have every project tracked from start to end.

The benefit for tracking everything is that you will be learning how long things actually take, how much things actually cost, etc. Even if the project doesn’t go to the end – you have collected valuable information to reuse and improve your cost and time estimates for future projects. You will have collected valuable data for process improvement.

Problem with tacking after payment

You also have the possibility of the contract being signed, without up-front payment. They may pay on a payment plan OR upon delivery. In those cases, it doesn’t help you to start tracking only when the client pays.

Tracking before the RFP

You should actually be tracking your time and effort regarding lead-to-sales effort as well (i.e. how long it takes from receiving the lead to actually being able to submit a proposal). Tracking the steps, time and effort in this sales process also provides invaluable data regarding process improvement, need for additional sales tools or training. The overall goal is to reduce that lead-to-RFP time; as well as improve the Lead-to-Sale conversion numbers.
Does this type of sales project management tracking need to be the same as the development project management tracking tool? No. Sales could use their CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool to track and analyze their effectiveness.

Bottom line – you aren’t wasting valuable time tracking projects, although you can waste your time collecting/tracking the wrong data. You can always, always, always use proper tracking information to good use. You just need decide the right metrics to collect and make the data useful to you.

How to give feedback employees will hear?

Posted by on Aug 11, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Discovering Your passion, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Taking the Leap, Time Management | Comments Off on How to give feedback employees will hear?

A busy professional has this question regarding employee performance reviews.

She asked:

  • How to give feedback employees will hear?
    What are some tips for giving effective feedback?
  • What are the barriers to hearing and understanding feedback?
  • When giving feedback, how can you make sure employees get it?

 

Who needs the feedback the most?

These are very good questions.  Before we answer each of them, lets review some reasons employees need constructive feedback.

  • They are doing well but seem too comfortable in their current position. They don’t seem to have any desire for advancement
  • They are average performers but are essentially falling behind because those around them are excelling
  • They are excelling
  • They are performing below expectations

As you can see, the need for employee feedback isn’t isolated to those that are not performing as expected.  Exceptional, Above Average, and Average employees all need constructive feedback.

Setting the stage

Giving an effective feedback starts with understanding your employees’ goals and career objectives.  Once you understand the “why” the employee comes to work – the better you can connect the feedback to their goals.

For example, if they want to eventually lead the team or become a manager, then focus on the skill sets that will help them achieve those goals.

These business commitments or goals need to be agreed upon at the start of the performance review year.  These documented PBC (Personal Business Commitments) tie the individuals role/responsibilities to the company goals.  Everyone understands how they can individually contribute to the company’s success.   These PBCs can then be reviewed several times during the year and before the official performance review.  Setting the stage in this manner makes feedback easier, because everyone involved understands both the employer and employee expectations.

These business goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Attainable, Relevant and Time bound).  With SMART goals, it’s very easy for both the employee and manager to agree whether the goals were met or exceeded.

Barriers to hearing

The most prevalent barrier to hearing and understanding feedback is our mindset.  The moment your supervisor releases a perceived negative comment, we automatically go into defensive mode.  Our brain immediately will find situations that negative what was just been said or provide detailed reasons/excuses for the events.

Best advice is to continually focus on the SMART goals or commitments set at the start of the year.  Use the agreed upon PBCs as your starting point.  Since your PBCs will have specific metrics and goals in place for each performance commitment, it will be easy to determine if the criteria has been met.

For example, If one of the PBC goals was to standardize code reviews in the development team to reduce delivered defects to test group by 30% – and the employee (team leader) still does not conduct regular code reviews and the defect rates to test group are on the rise – all you need to do is share the past defect rate and current defect rates.

Then simply ask the employee if he/she feels if they have met that particular goal.

Repeat this until all the PBC goals are reviewed.

Making sure employees get it

Once you and the employee have agreed upon the status of the PBC goal, ask their opinion on where to go from here.

For instance, if the employee agrees that the team did not meet the defect rate goals – he/she also agrees that standardized code reviews would have caught a number of these defects by simple review – and therefore would have been fixed prior to sending to the test team, you can now start a discussion on where to go from here.

The discussion is focused on working on a solution together. Perhaps it’s unrealistic for the team to take the time to gather and code-review each other’s work.  Perhaps there isn’t enough time in the schedule to detail code review.  Therefore perhaps the next assignment is for the team leader to investigate and recommend a development tools that automatically code reviews. The mandate then becomes 80% of all the code review defects are fixed before handing to the test group.   Perhaps the new PBC is to automate the unit tests going forward such that a set of automated acceptance tests are run before handing off to the test group.    Then the development teams continually add to the unit tests as they go along.

As you can see – these discussions then become the foundation of their next PBC SMART goals.

Keep them involved

At the end of the day, keeping your employees involved and engaged in their own career development is key.  Although the above examples were technical, this method also works on soft or people skills.

How to set the right priorities?

Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Discovering Your passion, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Taking the Leap, Time Management | Comments Off on How to set the right priorities?

A busy professional has this question regarding time management:

How to set the right priorities?

I have a lot on my to-do list and I tend to focus on the day to day tasks I have. I am finding it hard to find time to focus on some of my strategic goals because the rest of my to-do items take up all of my time. I am thinking I need to do a better job at setting priorities. How do others tackle their strategic goals while getting all of their pressing daily tasks done?

Every successful person will have their own system.  And I believe that the best system is the one that works best for you. Having said that upfront, here is what I recommend.

Start with the end in mind

I applaud you for having your strategic goals clearly defined.  Often people go through life without a strategic plan for their personal, professional, social and career lives.  It is these same folks that wonder where time has gone and why they haven’t accomplished more with the time they were given.

Outlining a simple mission statement for your personal, professional, social and career purpose will help keep you on track.  After all, how can you stay on course if you haven’t plotted a destination?  If you don’t know where you are going, you deserve anywhere you end up.

So – get a 360° mission statement which includes all significant aspects of your life.

Outline your imperatives

Once you have your 360° mission statement, carve out the imperative things that need to be accomplished to support those statements. Imperatives are those things that – if everything else were to disappear from your live – your life would still be happy and fulfilled.

For instance, perhaps one of your personal mission statements/desires is to be closer to your family and increase quality time with them.  You then realize that your family is an imperative.  That’s something that – if everything else were to disappear – you would still be very happy.

So you now have prioritized your family as one of your imperatives.

Some other imperatives might be your health, working on things that you are passionate about, getting great satisfaction by helping others or the community, be recognized and accomplished in your career – whatever creates joy in you.  Nothing is wrong – it’s just your individual imperative list.

Create supportive tasks

Once you have your imperative list, create realistic actions/activities to accomplish those goals. Create them in the form of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound).

For example: To accomplish getting closer to your family, commit to a block of time each week for quality time with family members (sans electronics and distractions).

To be recognized and accomplished in your career, commit to working with a mentor or business coach to identify your career road-map and subsequent skill gaps.

To give back, commit to volunteer your talents to a non-profit organization.  I would also recommend volunteer to a position that also supports and enhances your career.  For instance, if you wanted to improve your skill set in web-design, offer to design the website for a non-profit.  Combining the two imperatives will be of greater benefit to you.

Schedule the time

Once you have your SMART goals identified, take out your calendar and block the time out in your calendar.  Treat these assignments as imperative, and allow the day-to-day activities fill the gaps around them (instead of the other way around).

Bottom line:

Every day activities will always fill in the gaps.  So, if you don’t deliberately and mindfully create the space (schedule it in your calendar with a “DO NOT DISTURB”), you will never have the time to accomplish your most important activities.

How can I manage multiple web projects with a deadline without outsourcing?

Posted by on Jul 19, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Discovering Your passion, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Taking the Leap, Time Management | Comments Off on How can I manage multiple web projects with a deadline without outsourcing?

A busy professional has this question regarding project management:

How can I manage multiple web projects with a deadline without outsourcing? 

I don’t have money to invest in outsourcing. Beside outsourcing, what is the most effective way of complete 20 website design projects that are fully monetized and traffic generation optimized on or before December 2017? I fell into the folly of pursuing many site projects at the same time and I don’t want to give up. I strongly believe nothing is impossible to him who believes. I’m in dire need of an expert’s advice please. 

Without understanding the full scope of each project, there are a few things to consider and try.

Be realistic and transparent

In order to keep your clients – you need to be realistic and transparent about your talents and delivery schedule.  Tell your clients your current situation and give them a chance to either work with you or find another website developer.  This is the only way to keep your clients welfare and business in good standing.

At best – it would be selfish and unprofessional to jeopardize your clients’ business and income – because your mismanaged your business. At worst, knowingly taking money for projects that you cannot deliver is fraud.

Please, share your plans with your clients and give them the opportunity to decide what they want to do.

Have a list of other website developers that you can refer them to – as an option.  Work with affiliated referral partners to create a referral program – for cases such as this (more information on this below).

Minimize the requirements

Work with each client to minimize the requirements and delivery timeline.  By this I mean, identify exactly what needs to be delivered and when.  This may allow you to interlace your deliverables in phases to each of your clients.  Although this may extend the delivery to the entire projects past December 2017 – it may allow a working version of all the sites by December 2017.  This may allow all your clients to accomplish their goals, even though the full contract hasn’t been delivered in the original time schedule.

 

In either way – please be transparent to your clients regarding your schedule dilemma.

Re-usable routines

Investigate using routings or pre-tested functions/packages that do the required tasks (versus coding manually yourself).  This is different from outsourcing because you are doing a one-time purchase of the features or functions that you are interested in.  Your task would be to successfully integrate them into your various websites.  You can often purchase functionality at low costs or even free on open source sites.

The negative is the maintenance of such routines.  It might take you longer to fix any issues found in that code. 

Deliver in phases

Although your contract may promise a December 2017 delivery date, some of your clients may agree to extend the deadline.  Offer discounts or additional free months of maintenance to their contract in order to extend the deadline.  Create a new contract that outlines exactly what will be delivered in each phases, what the clients will be able to do with their website and when it will be finalized.  These changes in the statement of work needs to be documented and signed to afford problems in the future.

Release some projects to other website developers

Actually give away some of the projects to other website developers that you hold in high regards.  This allows you to keep your promises to your clients and refer business to other website developers. This also opens the door for those same website developers to hand-off business to your when they are over-loaded.  Discuss some type of referral fee when you and your referral partners exchange business as a way to motivate referrals.

As you mentioned earlier – this is your folly to schedule so many website projects in the same project schedule.  Don’t let your clients suffer for your mismanagement.  Your foremost goals is to keep your client’s welfare in mind at all time – even if that means you not making the profit.

Sometimes you can best serve your clients by referring them to someone else.

 If you need additional help on this, just let me know.

What is the best way to advertise a forum on a niche topic?

Posted by on Jul 5, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Discovering Your passion, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Taking the Leap, Time Management | Comments Off on What is the best way to advertise a forum on a niche topic?

A busy professional has this question regarding branding and marketing:

What is the best way to advertise a forum on a niche topic?

I have a forum on a niche topic. I am advertising the forum via ads (Although some of the keywords have low quality scores, they are all very specific to this niche).

Now, do I directly link the ad to the forum home page, or add some high quality article/posts around the ads? Does this matter?

Thanks in advance for any help. I didn’t find the right answer from searching the internet.

 

Whether you are marketing your forum, book, website, product or service, you can use similar marketing strategies.  But a successful marketing strategy has lots of moving parts and tools.  I recommend doing a combination of things:

  • make sure your “ads” are on brand with a consistent message
  • create engaging and compelling content (blogs, articles, posts, videos, vlogs, etc)
  • opt-in offers (valuable information through eBooks, white papers, webinars) to collect contact information of the people that you are attracting with your offers
  • create a Facebook around your forum – to start engaging and creating your followers
  • give speaking engagements about your topic with door-prizes to collect the contact information of the people that you are attracting with your topic
  • keep your CRM (customer relationship management) up to date personally contact them with emails or newsletters
  • with everything that you post or release – include links back to your forum

Find similar forums that share your target market

It will take time to create a following from scratch.  Therefore, investigate or go where your target marketing is already.  For instance, if your target market is parents, you might want to visit or guest speak at forums for single parents, divorced dads, and other topics that interest your same target group.

 

  • investigate what your competitors are doing.
  • reach out to complimentary forums and engage with those groups that share your target market/followers
  • invite guest speakers to your forums that have already have their own followers. This will introduce you to their followers.

As you can see – there’s no 1 thing that you do. There’s a never-ending list of things you can do to market and expose your forum.

To help narrow your focus, clearly describe your target audience or personas.  By deciding the age group, interests, income, hobbies, and lifestyle – you can better focus your marketing strategies to get the bigger bang for your time and budget.

 

Do you need a logo and brand before selling?

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017 in Business Processes, Coaching, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Professional Career Development, Project Management, Taking the Leap, Time Management | Comments Off on Do you need a logo and brand before selling?

A busy professional has this question regarding branding and marketing:

Do I have to have a logo and brand before I start selling my product?

I have a limited budget and am eager to start selling my products to get some revenue. Should I allocate my budget towards advertising/sales right away or do I need a logo first? I’ve read that a logo and brand is really important, but I’m not sure if it’s important enough to put it before sales.

No, you do not need a brand/logo designed prior to selling products.  In fact, there are many cases of businesses starting up without logos. It takes time to actually figure out what your brand and message will ultimately be.  While you are figuring out your brand, start selling your product; continue to research which message works best; and figure out  what your brand will actually stand for.

The simple truth is that branding in the start-up stage can be counter-productive. It’s at this stage that you’re learning the ropes, making mistakes and as much as you might strive to do the opposite, making customers unhappy. In cases like this, it’s best that your brand is not strong so that you can ride through it and develop your processes, before developing your brand and locking your logo into people’s psyche.

Once you’ve got a good handle on your business, find someone whose experience and sensibility match your vision to help you.  Hiring an expert in branding will save you much rework and issues in the future.

A strong identity is an important factor in establishing brand recognition and lending credibility. A well-designed identity also helps in attracting the prospective audience you wish to engage.  Investing in brand experts is a good step.  But until you figure out who you are, what you do, who you do it for and why, you are simply wasting your resources.
Hopefully this helps

Is multitasking good or bad for productivity?

Posted by on Jun 6, 2017 in Business Processes, Discovering Your passion, Effectiveness, Goal Setting for Success, Organizational Tips, Project Management, Taking the Leap, Time Management | Comments Off on Is multitasking good or bad for productivity?

 

 

A busy professional has this question regarding time management:

Is multitasking good or bad for productivity?

I have always been good at multitasking, but I have recently had a debate with a friend who said multitasking is actually inefficient. I believe that I can get a lot more done when multitasking, but I do think it sometimes makes it hard to focus. I am curious what others think. I want to be more efficient and organized this year and wondering if I should try to be more focused on one task at a time. Thanks for sharing your experience.

What many people see as multitasking is often more “time-sharing” than actual multitasking.  You actually can devote effective focus on more than one important task at a time.

For activities that require little to no thought, it can be possible to perform multiple tasks at once, especially if one of them is completely passive like letting a video or podcast run in the background while you stuff envelopes. But for things of any significance, multitasking is actually inefficient.

What you feel is multitasking is actually focusing your attending on 1 item for a small amount of time, before switching your attention to something else for another small interval of time – then back to the first issue.  This time-sharing between multiple activities is still single-focus, just interrupt driven.

Often times, when we switch our focus before completing the first task, we need to spend some additional time to review our status on task 1 before we can continue.  While this review time might seem inefficient, not reviewing before you continue increases the likelihood of mistakes.

Deliberate multitasking

To increase efficiency my recommendation is to create Sprint & Buffers that even accommodates inevitable interruptions.

See below simple example.  You have Task A and Task B – both lasting 8 hours.  Instead of mindlessly moving from one task to the other, break the tasks into mini-self-contained tasks.  This allows you to make progress on both tasks, while staying focused on one activity until a suitable completion/pause.  Since you stay focused to the mini-tasks’ conclusion, you have no need for additional review time when you restart.

When inevitable interruptions occur, you merely inform the interrupter that you will be able to spend time with them in 30 minutes (or when your mini-task is completed). You now have the buffer to accommodate interruptions between the different tasks without losing your place or derailing your delivery schedule.

12 Tips to Realistic Scheduling

Creating Sprints and Buffers is just one technique to improving efficiency. To learn more about tips to realistic scheduling, please reach out to me.  I have a white paper and presentation on this topic.

Conclusion

For anything that requires focus you can probably only handle one at a time. Our minds ability to hold focus and the number of things we can be consciously aware of at one moment are limited. Switching focus back and forth between tasks consumes energy and increases the likelihood of mistakes.

All in all, multitasking is bad for productivity.

Hope this helps a little.

I know your situation is different.  If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally.  It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

 

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

 

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