Limit Work in Progress

Most of us think  that if you answer the phone while typing an email scribble a note and feed the baby you are getting more done. There is lots of data to disprove that but also ask yourself, have you ever been annoyed at someone while they were time slicing you?

In fact task switching and context switching are major forms of waste  AND also sources of error. Getting in the groove is a type of concentration that is invaluable. The opposite of writers block if you will.

Try a simple test: get your team together, each person except one has a piece of paper and the exception has a pen. Each person in turn hands the paper to the ‘scribe’ and the scribe writes the persons name and hands it back, then takes from the next person until complete. How long did that take?

Then try this but instead of writing the person’s name just write the first letter cycling through the group then back to the first person and write the second letter etc…

How long did that take?

In my experience about 3 times as long.

Also, most people tend to work on the easy task and not the one of highest Value.

“We’ve already seen that multitasking on the road is the equivalent of drinking and driving. Other research cited by Medina shows that people who are interrupted – and therefore have to switch their attention back and forth – take 50% longer to accomplish a task, and make up to 50% more errors. -http://lateralaction.com/articles/multitasking/

by Michael Badali