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What Is Multitasking Costing You?

written bySteve Borekon 01/11/2012

How many signals are you getting regarding things that are really important, yet for a multitude of reasons, you don't see them on your radar screen.  

We're bombarded with hundreds of signs and signals on a daily basis though many are ignored or pass us by. Why? Because we're not paying attention! This behavior is costing us in more ways than one.  

In Syracuse, there's a railroad bridge that sits 10' 9" above the scenic Onondaga Lake Parkway. Over the years, there have been numerous accidents, including fatal ones, due to commercial vehicles like tractor trailers hitting the bottom of the overhanging bridge.  

As I drove downtown the other day, I entered the parkway on a beautiful sunny Syracuse afternoon. This time I put on my "awareness hat." While admiring the glistening lake, I also noticed how many signs there are alerting commercial drivers of the "Low Bridge Ahead." The signs are varied and spaced adequately apart, from the time you enter the parkway until you get to the bridge. Warnings include everything from pictures, print, flashing lights, large letters on the road, and even an orange neon stripe spanning the bottom of the structure from one side of the road to the other.  

This week, in spite of all those visual signals, another commercial vehicle's trailer top hit the low railroad bridge. I think part of the problem is we have so much going on that our minds have gotten sidetracked. We're multi-tasking in a way that our brains simply aren't wired to do! We're taking in lots of information from multiple sources like GPS systems, texting and talking on smartphones, and listening to the radio while attempting to sing our favorite pop song like a tone-deaf contestant on American Idol.  

And what about everything else that's clogging our subconscious minds, those issues that create blinders and take away our peripheral vision. If you own a business, you might be thinking about how to increase sales, problems you're having with employees, clients that are unprofitable and zapping your energy, or finding time to get the to-do list started or finished.  

As an executive coach, I help my business clients keep their energy focused on what's really important. With all of their distractions, clients enjoy the fact they can spend a few hours a month with me to help them stay on track.  

Think about the signs in your personal or professional life that are on your radar screen trying to tell you something, yet for some reason you're missing them? What is it costing you because you're not seeing the signs?