Like a drunk on a bender, the driver in the truck ahead of me this morning was swerving as he buried his head in his smartphone. It was a classic case study in the dangers of distraction and why this is often compared to driving while intoxicated. In it’s own way, the allure of the words and pictures on those touchscreens have an intoxicating effect, drawing people in and diverting attention from navigating a ton of metal, plastic, and glass.
The roadways are not the only place where people are under the influence. From the C-Suite to middle management to cube farms across the globe, millions of workers are drunk by multitasking as they distractedly attempt to complete a multitude of things at the same time. Instead of giving their full attention to the customer, project, or issue at hand, these individuals often think they are highly adept at doing multiple things at once but are no better than the texter in front of me this morning. The customer is only partially served, the work on the project is good but could be better, and the issue to be resolved is often incompletely addressed.
Drivers of vehicles must single-task in order to keep those around them safe and the same goes for businesspeople at all levels. Multitasking is highly overrated, especially when working on critical business functions, like serving your customers. Most of you reading this would never interact with a client or work on an important project after downing a few cocktails. The same policy should apply to taking on other tasks when the task at hand is important to the success of your organization.