I know you have most likely heard of the dangers of multitasking and I am not going to be the first person to tell you that it's not great for your stress levels. We've all been told throughout our career that it's important to simply focus on one thing at a time, but have we ever actually been taught how to do that?
Multitasking is at an all time high right now. We are called to do more, in less time and with WAY more distractions than ever before. And you might be feeling like you can't go on like this much longer. The good news, you don't have to.
In today's episode I am showing you what you can learn from other masterful high performance leaders that have gone before you.
Crisis management is part of a senior leaders job description and you are learning how to do it too. Senior leaders weren't always great at managing crisis either, they learned how to do it --- and it wasn't by multitasking.
Today I will show you how you can break the multitasking cycle once and for all. Plus, I will teach you my mindset tricks and the ones other exceptional leaders use to stay focused and remain in the present moment.
I'm offering a free Live webinar next week on "How the Biggest Career Jumps are Made During Times of Crisis." If you want to develop the skills I teach you on my podcast so that you can finally get the recognition you deserve, sign up at stacymayer.com/crisiswebinar and learn how. There are limited spots and I am only offering this Live once, so don't hesitate to sign up.
What You'll Learn:
- Why multitasking is affecting more than just your stress levels, it's also blocking you from getting promoted
- How some leaders are masterful at focusing and others can't see the forest through the trees
- A quick trick that will bring you back to the present moment almost instantly
- The discipline it will take to break you out of this viscous cycle
- What you can do instead once you give up multitasking
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacey Mayer. I am so excited to be here with you tonight because well, this really funny thing happened to me right before I recorded this podcast episode and I want to share that with you before I dive in. So today's episode is how to break out of this multitasking loop that you might have found yourself in right now. So if you're somebody who is attending meetings but you're checking your email on the side, and you're also thinking about your kids at the same time, and you're working on top of a cardboard box, and then you're lucky to grab lunch, and you haven't been outside for three days, I hear you. I get it. This is something that we're all in right now. We're in survival mode. And you might be feeling like it's not great, it's not what you want to be doing and you're thinking that in the future, things will get better. It will get easier. That once all of this crisis is over, then you're going to stop multitasking. But here's the thing, if we look down deep inside, you probably realize you've been multitasking on some level for a very, very long time. Well, the good news is is that our multitasking levels are so high right now, it's actually putting us into a state of shock. We're realizing, "Oh my gosh. I can't do this." Whereas our multitasking levels before were probably manageable. They weren't life-threatening, like something like you would eat in your car or something like that, while you're going to the next meeting. And so it wasn't really life-threatening. But what's happening to us now is our multitasking has taken up a notch and so you're probably starting to notice that it's taken a toll on your health, on your stress, on your feelings of overwhelm.
So I'm going to give you the cure for multitasking today, a way to help snap yourself out of it, to show you ways that you might already be doing this right now for yourself, and how you can do it more effectively, and also, even more importantly, is that multitasking is not just harming your stress levels, but it's also harming your career trajectory. So I'll go into more details about that here in a minute, but I really want to share this story with you just now. So what happened was, I was about to sit down and record the podcast and my husband came in the room and he said, "Hey, can you come with me for a second?" And the kids are asleep and he took me outside. And I was like, "Oh gosh. What does he want to talk to me about?" Because this is like what our relationship has been like over the past couple of months, is that we're doing these quick check-ins about the kids or about life or where we're going to go find toilet paper, different things like that. So he takes me outside and our neighbors are outside too so we can hear them talking. And he actually pulled me outside so that we could look up at the sky and look for the Tesla satellites. So they were going to fly overhead at 8:46 PM tonight as I'm recording this podcast, and there's 16 of them in a row, and if we look up at the sky at the right time and the right place, we should be able to see them go by. And I instantly, as soon as I walked outside, breathed that fresh air. I felt whole. I felt at peace. I felt calm. And I can hear my neighbors neighbors were talking over the fence and we're looking up at the sky trying to find the satellites. Time goes by. It's getting closer to 9 o'clock. We've basically missed our window to see these satellites. One of us is like, "Oh, I think I saw it. Oh, I think I saw it," but in reality, none of that mattered. It didn't matter if I saw the satellite or not. What mattered is that I had a moment of peace. I slowed down, and in just that quick, five minutes' break, I was able to come back, record this podcast and just have so much renewed energy and focus going right back into it. So that is actually what I'm going to be teaching you how to do today. How to focus on one thing at a time. How to snap yourself out of this multi-tasking loop so that you can really not only maximize your productivity at work but that you can focus on what matters most and get bigger results for your team, for your organization and ultimately, for your career. In 2009, Stanford University did a study and they found that heavy multitaskers were less mentally organized, they struggled at switching from one task to another and had a hard time differentiating relevant from irrelevant details, and it's that last point that I really want to focus on because it's that last point that's actually more fatal than you think it is. If you are a leader and you are having a hard time differentiating relevant from irrelevant details, it is going to be extremely difficult for you to make it to that next level of leadership.
Now, I pointed out at the beginning of this podcast that the multitasking rates are so high right now because we are all operating as high-performance leaders. That is essentially what many of the managers in this world are being called to do, to operate at a high level. We're attending more meetings, we're asked to make bigger, harder, tougher decisions in the world, things that high-performance leaders always have to deal with. So congratulations. You are functioning at this higher level, but what you're learning very quickly, trial by fire, is that you're not going to be able to sustain it. So you're not going to be able to sustain this level of performance unless you do something differently. And so what I'm going to teach you today is that something different is as simple but yet so profound as focusing on one simple thing at a time.
So why are some senior managers so good at this and some aren't? And the answer is because they have been in crisis mode before. They have learned by doing. So many executives a crisis is second nature. They've been through reorgs, they've been through structures, they've had profit loss, they've lost employees because of bad performance, they've been laid off, they've had to move around. So there's a certain amount of resiliency, and maybe you've had resiliency in your own life, in your personal life. You've had to overcome certain situations. So a lot of managers are really used to and they thrive in crisis situations. So I want you to become one of those managers. I want you to really understand, what are the tools that you're learning now that are helping you be that senior executive leader? And now I mentioned before that it's hurting not only your stress levels to be multi-tasking so much but it's also hurting your ability to actually get promoted. And the reason for that is, is because if your boss and your boss's boss and their boss's boss's boss see you running around with your head cut off all the time, looking very stressed out, showing up late to meetings, not being able to present your ideas, not being able to get creative, get innovative, then how are they ever going to trust you at that more executive level? At that level when they know that crisis is actually part of the job description. Managing crisis is part of a senior executive leader's job description. So I want you to learn how to manage through this right now so that you can continue doing it and not just wait and say, "Oh, everything will get better once the crisis ends or we get back to normal." But just understand that this is a normal part of senior executive leadership life.
So I already gave you one example of what I mean by staying in the present moment. And that's when I went outside and just looking at the stars. The only thing I was thinking about was those stars. And I felt joy, I felt relaxed, I felt focussed, and I felt rejuvenated once I went back to work. So that's a great example of what I mean essentially by staying in the present moment and staying in the present moment again is the anecdote, is the thing that will break you out of this multi-tasking cycle. Now, the question becomes, how are you going to do it? The first thing I want to talk to you about is discipline. It's actually a discipline to stay in the present moment. It requires a certain level of commitment on your part to actually want to do this. So the first thing I want you to ask yourself is, do I really want to stop multitasking? Now, multi-tasking is very similar to an addiction to any type of behavior that we do on default that doesn't serve us in the long run. So the first thing I want you to understand is that it's possible that multi-tasking doesn't serve you. So just ask yourself that question. Get curious. Is this something that I actually want to stop doing? Then, you have to make a commitment to stop doing it. So just like overeating or drinking alcohol or creating any type of new habit for yourself it requires a commitment and a strategy and a plan. So I want you to actually commit to staying more in the present moment. And so that's the first step really. And even by adding that commitment into your daily routine, you're going to start noticing over and over again that it gets easier. And at the very least you start to notice how the multi-tasking is actually affecting your life. The other thing that I want you to get curious about is how multi-tasking is actually affecting your job performance and the way that people perceive you. So many people come to me, and they feel like they've been stuck in their career for some time. They feel like they work so hard. And they put in all the hours. And they do all of the things that their boss expects from them, yet they're still not getting the recognition that they deserve. And a large part of this is because you're working harder, not smarter. So when you break out of this multitasking loop, you can actually start to see for yourself what is the most strategic thing that I can accomplish today. You'll start to be more innovative. You'll start to change your perspective. You'll be able to offer a different perspective to your boss. You can start to become the calm in the middle of the storm that they so desperately need right now. So just getting curious about that, how is this actually affecting my job performance, and how is it affecting the way that people perceive me? Because once you start to make the shift, you're going to notice that other people start to see you differently. So now you've got the discipline. You've decided that you're committed to staying more in the present moment. And now I'm going to give you some exercises that you do, some actual ways that you could train yourself to be more in the present moment. Now, you've thought about yoga. You've heard of yoga. You may be a yoga practitioner. This might be part of your daily routine. The one thing I want to mention about yoga and why it's so effective at getting you to stay in the present moment is because-- and this is something that I learned really early on when I was starting my meditation practice and learning how to meditate, is that the actual act of yoga is meant to calm the body, to release tension in the body so that you can actually sit in a meditation practice. So just that practice of yoga and moving your body settles your mind and brings you back to the press moment.
And then, for that matter, exercise, in general, is so helpful in bringing you back to the present moment. You'll notice that a lot of really exceptional high-performance leaders have a very strong exercise routine. And it's not always because they want to have the biggest muscles or lose a bunch of weight. It's because they know that in order to function at those elite levels, at that high-performance level that they have to have the discipline of a daily exercise routine. It gets the blood flowing. It gets your energy flowing so that then you can focus on one thing at a time. So you see how all of this is a discipline. And now, let's talk about the discipline of meditation in and of itself. So meditation, as a practice, rewires the brain. It actually changes the way your brain thinks. Now, a lot of people have a meditation practice, one where they listen to guided meditation. So they use meditation as a way to feel better in the moment. Or maybe they have a meditation practice that's silent or you'll listen to a bell or you'll listen to somebody talk and actually guide you through a meditation. And that can feel super-frustrating at first. Because why? Because your mind is constantly wondering. It's constantly wired to want to multitask, to think about many, many, many different things all to once and you may have heard of this concept when somebody has lead you if you have done meditation to just focus on the breath, come back to the breath, come back to the breath, come back to the breath. That is the action that's actually training your brain to come back to the present moment over and over and over and over and over again so that when you are in crisis mode, when things are feeling out of control and crazy and hectic, then you have already trained your brain to be the calm within the storm, to focus on one thing at a time and to actually come up with a better solution leading to a better outcome for everybody. So that's the practice of meditation.
Those are just three simple things that you could start doing and adding more into your life. But with that intention of becoming a high-performance leader, it's going to make all the difference in the world and you're going to see the results right away. Now, the third piece I want to talk to you about is okay, now you're not multitasking and you used to be working your butt off all the time and now you have to figure out, okay, what is it that's so important for me to actually do instead for me to focus on? And one of the things that I want to mention to you is that when you are doing something that you truly enjoy, when you understand the value that you bring to the work that you're doing, it doesn't feel like multitasking in that harmful way. It doesn't feel like you're working too hard. You're willing to put in the hours. You're willing to do the hard work. But when you're excited about the work that you do, the creativity and the innovation is there.
So some of the ways that we can bring that into our professional life, that passion, that enthusiasm, that creativity is by setting long-term career goals so that you know for you personally where you are headed. This gives you motivation along the way to create that discipline for yourself, to see, okay, am I making progress towards my goals? And when you have a goal that you're actually seeing yourself make progress towards and you know where you're going, it makes the discipline of getting there all the more easier. Another thing that you can do is you can find value in what you're actually doing. So this generally comes for clients in the form of communication. Having conversations with people. So if you feel like you don't have deep mentoring guided conversations with your boss, if every conversation that your having with your boss just feels like a check-in, then go find those people elsewhere. Make sure you have those professional colleagues, that network of people that you can call on and have these deeper, more philosophical intellectual conversations about your leadership, about your career, people that you can bounce ideas off of. This is going to keep you in the creative flow and show you why it's so important to be present so that you can think more strategically and be more innovative for yourself and for your organization.
And the last piece for your professional growth is having growth as one of your core values to just really understand that in its nature, the word growth is hard. It's hard work. Imagine a child as they're growing, a chile learning to walk walk. It is not easy to learn to walk. And the thing is is that as you're taking that first step and the next step and you're falling down over and over and over again, that commitment to learning how to walk has to be there. So that's where those long-term goals come in. And so knowing that you're growing towards something and that growth is actually a core value is going to help you stay focused and pay attention to the discipline that it's needed to keep bringing you back to the present moment and staying committed. Now, all of this is so important because I want you to be someone that really thrives during this time of crisis. Not just somebody who gets by. I know that you have it in you to do better. And whenever we're hit with something that's difficult, we're always going to default to the thing that's easier, our addictions, our behaviors that don't serve us. And if multitasking is one of those behaviors that you're finding yourself doing more and more and more and more today, then I encourage you to just bring your attention back to the present moment, to enjoy all that life and your career and possibility of the future has to offer. And to be able to accomplish more work by focusing on one thing at a time than you ever were able to do when you were multitasking. Now, if this episode was interesting to you and you're liking what I'm saying and you are somebody who really wants to thrive during this crisis, instead of just getting by, then I encourage you to sign up for my free live webinar. How the biggest career jumps are made during times of crisis. Got to stacymayer.com/crisiswebinar to register and secure your spot today. That's S-T-A-C-Y-M-A-Y-E-R.com/crisiswebinar. Thank you so much for listening, and I'll see you next week. Bye.
About Your Host
Hi, I’m Stacy Mayer, a Leadership Coach for emerging executives who are ready to take their career to the next level or seeking more fulfillment in their current organizational roles.
I help corporate managers reposition themselves to advance their careers, build confidence in their ability to solve problems in real-time, and step into their higher leadership potential so they can make a bigger impact in their organizations.