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Do you constantly switch between tasks? Do you often find yourself doing multiple things at once?

Checking Facebook while watching television, sending emails during a meeting, taking phone calls while cooking dinner… we’re all guilty of doing these things.

So, what’s the problem? Put simply, multitasking means dealing with more than one task at the same time. We think we’re being productive when the opposite is true. Because the very essence of multitasking is to focus on several things at once, nothing ever has your full attention.

The consequence? We fail to reach our potential in anything.

Are we buying into the idea that we need to be superhuman?

For women in business and leadership roles, the pressure to have everything under control is relentless. We strive for perfection in all areas of our lives. We try to keep all the plates spinning at once, at home and work, but they fall eventually.

Are we creating our own set of expectations that compound the issue instead of reassessing our priorities? How can we give our all to anything if we always divide our attention? Could we make better choices about where we spend our time, energy and focus?

We wear busy like a badge of honour

In my leadership coaching practice, I often see women struggling under the strain of multitasking. They’re busy to the point of exhaustion. But they’re too afraid to ask others for help. They feel they must do everything on their own.

The fact is, it’s impossible to be in control of all areas of our lives all the time. And we can’t do it all on our own. When we try to give 100% to everything, we end up feeling burnt out and disappointed in ourselves.

Is there a better way? Could we ask for help? Are we brave enough? Or does being crazy-busy make you feel important?

Multitasking is a myth

“The scarcity of time is the reason we have to concentrate on one thing at a time.”

– Matt Perman

The truth is, we need to prioritise to be successful. Your diary is a reflection of your values. If you do not prioritise the important in your diary, the urgent will take over, and you can trust in the fact there will always be something urgent, even if it is not important.

Success comes to those who prioritise – ruthlessly. The key is to be accountable. The most successful women hold themselves accountable to someone: a mentor, coach, sponsor or even a tough but fair friend who does not buy into the excuses!

Are you being held accountable?

Accountability buddies are like a great sports bra. You feel supported and taken care of, and you know no bits are going to fall out!

In our first year of Thriving Women, we formed accountability groups. Each group had women with similar backgrounds, so those who were in leadership roles within organisations were in one group, and those who had their own businesses were in another. They caught up once a month to keep each other accountable.

What we found was not only did they keep each other accountable, they felt fully supported in what they were doing. They were each other’s cheerleaders, they gave feedback, they piloted things with each other, and their bond became tighter. The connection we all crave was there, and it was a direct result of being held accountable.  

To break free of the vicious cycle of multitasking, you need accountability buddies. These are people who have your back, help you when you need it, and ensure you keep a laser-like focus on your goals – one at a time.

So, what do you need to prioritise in your life? How can you stop multitasking?

Drop me a line at emma@emmamcqueen.com.au

I’m Emma, and I’m a business and executive coach who believes wholeheartedly in the potential of women. My coaching philosophy is simple- taking action leads to results- and I love working with women in business and in corporate roles to take their passion and drive and transform their professional and personal lives.

Be enthusiastic, optimistic and energetic, every day.