To be clear, self-aware, and precise in your entrepreneurship path, there are certain habits you must learn to develop. Multi-tasking…is not one of those. For years, I’d been practicing what I like to call ‘prideful ignorance’ in believing that my ability to juggle tasks was actually the reason for my success. In reality, multi-tasking was a way of avoiding my true potential by hiding behind meaningless tasks and lacking true courage to really get the big stuff done. I’d bought into some mystical idea that the more tasks I did, the more value I brought to the world.
I was busy just to say I was busy but unconsciously lacking serious purpose overall.
The first year I stopped multi-tasking, I tripled my income and developed a business solely based on referrals and walk-ins with little to no foot traffic.
Josh Waitzkin, 8-time National Chess Champion, muse to the movie Searching for Bobby Fisher, BJJ Black Belt, and author of The Art of Learning, refers to Multi-tasking as a virus. And why not? When we attempt to juggle our attention between Facebook, Instagram, emails, and our regular work, our ability to truly understand one thing to its full capacity gets thrown out the window as our brains go into decision overload. Eventually leading to analysis paralysis.
A study at the British Institute of Psychiatry noted that performing two tasks simultaneously can decrease your IQ by about 10 points. Recent studies show that men are affected more and can lose up to 15 points! These levels have been compared to the mental capacity one experiences after not sleeping for 36+ hours. It’s toxic and unless you are superhuman, odds are you’re helping no one but your ego by playing acrobat with your daily tasks.
Consider for a moment those who struggle to break addiction and yo-yo patterns of success. The science behind multitasking shows us that the brain responds to quick bursts of achievement as we complete a tiny task then get back to what we were doing before.
Unfortunately, this response is in the form of Dopamine, the brain’s reward chemical. The more we bounce in focus, the more we train our brain to seek out instant rewards and quick fixes. Addictions to instant gratification keep us from persistence and tenacity, both are essential to any catalog of qualities earned by a good Entrepreneur.
Look, I get it, when you are just starting out, the list of things that must be done to get your start-up off the ground can be daunting and it would really help if you could find a way to streamline your efforts. But in all fairness, that’s where working ON your business differs from working IN your business. You’ve got to be courageous enough to evaluate your efforts and determine where you are really holding yourself back vs where you can truly excel.
And where most humans tend to seek survival, this virus is a way of basic protection. Ego, that side of you made up of limits, fear, doubts, and internal judgements based on past experience, fools you into believing that you need an excuse to say no. Rather than speaking up and saying you don’t want to do something, you create chaos in your life, fill your proverbial plate with time consuming tasks that may not do you or your momentum any good, and hide behind the “I don’t have time to help you,” excuse.
It’s much easier for the masses to hide behind busy-ness than it is for them to stand up for their goals, dreams, and passions. That’s precisely why so many people never truly succeed as an Entrepreneur.
In over a decade now of coaching clients, I’ve learned that multi-tasking signals avoidance to something you are really afraid knowing about yourself. Not because you don’t want to succeed, but because your ego is afraid you will change. When you’re fully present, you will see patter and habits that you may not want to see in yourself or that you’d rather blame on others. It’s a HUGE lesson but one that will truly transform your life. As Josh Waitzken proved, its in the ability to laser focus that allows one to become a true champion. And it’s not just a theory, it’s science.