So You Think You Can Multitask?! Eliminate Distractions with a Virtual Receptionist

Monday, January 30th, 2017

How many times have you said on your CV or in an interview that you’re a good multitasker? Perhaps you truly consider yourself someone that can juggle tasks well. Being able to multitask is seen as a key skill, a sign that you can give many things your attention resulting in a high and varied work output. But why is this skill so highly sought after, can anyone really give their all to more than one task simultaneously?

man juggling multiple=

The interesting and bestselling book by John Medina called ‘Brain Rules’ has a simple answer to this question…no! Multitasking isn’t breathing and walking at the same time, we’re talking about our ability to concentrate and focus on more than one thing. “To put it bluntly, research shows that we can’t multitask. We are biologically incapable of processing attention-rich inputs simultaneously”.

Let’s put Medina’s research and findings into the context of our working day.

We’re at our desk and tackle the first important task of the day – to email a supplier regarding an important issue.

Step 1 in our brain a search query begins to find the neurons capable of executing the writing task.

Step 2 the brain encodes a command that will activate the neurons, once discovered. This process is called “rule activation,” and it takes several tenths of a second to accomplish. We begin to write the important email.

While we’re busy typing our sensory system is triggered as we hear an alert and see a pop-up window notifying us of a new message in our inbox.

Step 1, the rules for reading a new message are different to the rules initiated for writing an email. Our brain must disengage from the email-writing rules before we can read the new email. The brain is alerted that another shift in attention is about to happen.

Step 2, another two-part message seeking the rule-activation protocols for reading an email is now deployed. As before, the first is a command to find the reading-email rules, and the second is the activation command. As before, it takes several tenths of a second simply to perform the switch.

Incredibly, these four steps must occur in sequence every time we make a swap from one task to another. It is time-consuming, and it is ordered, there are no shortcuts and is why we often find ourselves asking “now where was I?” each time we swap between tasks.

Studies also show that when interrupted we can take 50 percent longer to accomplish a task. Not only that, we can make up to 50 percent more errors than if we completed the task without interruption.

Businesses and schools praise multitasking, yet research clearly shows that multitasking will lead to reduced productivity and increased errors – can your business afford for this to happen?

Best selling author John Medina advises that we try to create a zone that is free from disturbances during the day. This doesn’t mean simply ignoring interruptions, setting your phone to voicemail wont stop the ringing phone from breaking your concentration, and not looking at your inbox wont stop the distraction of seeing the new message notification pop-up. So how do you go about really freeing yourself from the distractions that stop you from being focused, productive and efficient, and ensuring that your business really gets the best from you?

Using a virtual receptionist such as CSnotepad gives you the space and freedom to manage your day free from distractions such as phone and email enquiries. With CSnotepad you can rest assured that while you focus on areas of your business that need your attention, all your enquiries are being dealt with promptly and professionally by trained agents who are familiar with your business and act seamlessly as members of your own in-house team. You have control over how much and how often we support you. We can answer your calls, take messages on your behalf, even process orders and take payments via your own online platform. We can deal with mail enquiries, even managing your diary and scheduling your meetings and appointments. Just talk to us about how you feel we can help, and how best we can minimise your distractions.

For more information call us today on 01273 741400 or visit our website www.csnotepad.co.uk

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