You’re Not as Good as You Think at Multitasking
By Sarah Malcolm, COO of The Content Funnel
If you are like me, you have two dozen or more apps open and running on your phone at once. Are we really productive when bouncing from Twitter Analytics to Trello to Slack to email and back again? We might think we’re accomplishing tons of work, but the truth is human beings are not wired for multi-tasking.
Social media management is not an exception. You might think this is an ideal area to multitask. “I’ll just post on Twitter while waiting for my client to show up.” The truth is, your social strategy suffers from this unfocused approach.
Social media management is tough. Information constantly streams our way. If all we did was social media, we’d be busy writing blogs, designing graphics, posting, promoting, responding to comments, watching trends, and designing social campaigns. Of course, this is not all commercial real estate professionals do. CRE brokers and agents have to deliver outstanding customer service, track listings, give tours, negotiate contracts. CRE service providers are writing code, marketing, and improving their software security. You get the point: our daily plates overflow with tasks.
It seems like you have to juggle to get it all done. However, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study that found, “people who constantly switch between screens, tabs, and apps — eventually develop weaker memories.”
The Multitasking Delusion
People tend to overestimate our multitasking prowess. Michael K. Gardner, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Utah, says “Fifty percent of people think they’re great multitaskers, but only 1 percent really are, so 49 percent of people are deluding themselves.”
Another source claims only two percent of people actually multi-task well. These supertaskers juggle multiple tasks and still deliver excellent results. You may believe you are one of these supertaskers. As University of Utah researcher David Strayer warns in the same article, you’re probably deluding yourself.
Tips to Improve Social Media Focus
We can’t avoid multitasking completely, but we can take measures to help us focus, produce better work, and minimize the harmful effects.
#1. Schedule social media time
Much like you do for team or client meetings, create a dedicated scheduled time to your social media and blogging efforts. Try to make it the same day and time so it becomes a habit. You may not have hours to work on social strategy. That’s where automation steps in. Use the time you do have wisely and let some automated settings help with the rest. For example, some social media content curation platforms publish across multiple networks or will retweet important content for you.
#2. Keep a checklist
Brokers have closing checklists. Why not have social media checklists? Write all the tasks you want to accomplish during your scheduled social time and outside the social time. Be more efficient by ranking the tasks from most important to least important. Crossing the items off the list feels good and boosts productivity, and you’ll make sure the most vital work is achieved in the time you have.
#3. Minimize distractions
This is the most important step. With social, it’s easy to get sucked down a rabbit trail. You started by sharing a post of a new coworking space launch, and an hour later, you’re watching the Puppy Bowl. How did that happen?
Log out of all irrelevant apps during your focus work time. Email is a big time drain, so sign out. Change which apps send alerts and notifications or modify their frequency. Close all the extra windows open on your desktop or phone.
Select a space that allows you to focus. Get away from high traffic areas where a colleague may interrupt you. Wearing headphones signals you don’t want to be disturbed.
Finally, change your mentality. Refuse the lure of cute puppy videos. Bookmark or save for later.
#4. Be mindful
In all that you do, practice mindfulness. Curb the phone checking. Be totally present with your clients. Try putting the phone down in the elevator or sitting room. Observe your space or strike up a conversation with someone nearby. Even the small things matter.
The benefits of focus
Focusing on a single task increases your productivity. We can’t mitigate all the multi-tasking, but we can minimize the shuffle. And if some area of your strategy is slipping below your standards, but you lack the proper resources to bring it up to par, ask for help. Spread the workload across an expert team. Let them help create more time to be present and build your business.