Multitasking = Time Sink? – Take an Agile Approach

I came across a favorite blogger’s post previously.  Tony Schwartz’s “The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time” offers so many good points, I suggest the read.  BTW: He sounds pretty “Agile” to me.

I admit it. I was a dyed in the wool multitasking manager. “Was” until I figured out that rather than make me more productive, it did the opposite. I was not paying close attention to my team, nor could I incorporate all those distractions and keep forward momentum.  Being mindful is now my manner.

Maintain Focus 

Tony writes we need more focus and be more engaged to be productive. Let’s deal with meetings.  He suggests scheduling shorter meetings, to start them on time with a defined end and no distractions of the digital kind.

Sounds pretty Agile to me:

  • Do the most important thing, first thing every day – Daily Scrum?
  • Carve out enough time in the day to “reflect” on the discussions. A Sprint Review?
  • We need time to “recover” and maintain Rhythm?

Ignore the Tyranny of Urgent

Big lesson, still learning (note to me). Tony stresses planning regular and scheduled times to think long term. Prioritization, assigning Business Value – Agile teams do these naturally, it’s what we do.

Got me thinking about  innovation….best practices suggest unplugging is the best way to be more creative. It has something to do with how our brains are hardwired. I know we work in busy places and competition is tough, but “not right now” can be the appropriate answer.

Disconnect and Renew

Take a vacation day, eat lunch away from your desk, join with colleagues at the favorite watering hole…take time to do something different, or nothing at all. It’s important. Even my computer and phone tell me it’s time to turn them off.  Interesting…our devices are reminding US to be in the present.


2 Replies to “Multitasking = Time Sink? – Take an Agile Approach”

  1. “Do something different” is a great tip to keep on top of your game. Routine bred complacency can lead to stasis, and shaking yourself free of that can be a fun too. There’s a ad company in New York who’ve taken this as far as ripping up their company logo every couple of months and creating a fresh one – whilst that wouldn’t be useful for many of us, I still find the idea pretty inspiring! Thanks for sharing,

    1. Luke, yes. You are on to something big. Great to hear from you.

      Do something odd/different sets up your brain to use its right side and “look” at the connections, energizing creativity.

      If interested, pick up _Imagine: How Creativity Works_ by Jonah Lehrer, for more interesting ways to foster your own personal creative instinct.


Leave a Reply