Multitasking: 4 Reasons You Should Stop Pretending You’re Good At It
Since the Internet gave us the ability to have two browsers open at the same time, we’ve somehow derived this idea we, as humans, are now capable of multitasking. And what’s worse, the more technology that comes along, the more we try to “prove” it by dividing our focus between two or more responsibilities simply because said tech gives us the “ability.”
Unfortunately, the ability to effectively multitask is a myth. People who do have “a lot of things on their plate” and are able to manage those things effectively, are actually practicing “switch-tasking,” as in they are able to shift full focus back and forth between tasks.
What does this mean for the insurance agent? The short answer is that it means you need to stop pretending like you’re good at multitasking while at work. Here are some reasons why.
1. Multitasking causes you to miss opportunities and/or underperform when given a chance.
Many young insurance agents — desperate to please their insurance leads and customers — bite off more than they can chew because they want to overload their clients with value and earn a hard-fought referral in the process. They crave positive word of mouth and a long client list, so they overextend themselves. Entrepreneur John Lee Dumas warns against this, urging “FOCUS,” or Follow One Course Until Success. It’s a faster way to get where you’re wanting to go.
2. Multitasking is unrealistic.
Studies released in late 2014 — reported here by Forbes — indicate that expecting yourself to be good at multitasking is just unrealistic no matter what career that you’re in. The human brain and the body were not meant to be able to function at their optimum abilities on two or more things at the same time. As a result, you’ll end up doing both things poorly rather than one thing very well.
3. Multitasking gives you the IQ of an 8-year-old.
Returning to the study linked above, contributor Travis Bradberry explains the damages that multitasking can do to your IQ. “A study at the University of London found that participants who multitasked during cognitive tasks experienced IQ score declines that were similar to what they’d expect if they had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night,” Bradberry reports. “IQ drops of 15 points for multitasking men lowered their scores to the average range of an 8-year-old child.”
And the last we checked, there weren’t a whole lot of 8-year-old top producers.
4. Multitasking damages the part of your brain you need the most as an insurance agent.
Your ability to relate to customers and feel empathy as well as emotional and cognitive control hinges on the part of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex. This just so happens to be what suffers the most when you try to multitask. Bradberry again: “Researchers at the University of Sussex in the UK compared the amount of time people spend on multiple devices (such as texting while watching TV) to MRI scans of their brains. They found that high multitaskers had less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region responsible for empathy as well as cognitive and emotional control.”
As someone who needs to be able to build relationships and loyalty in order to survive, this point alone should make you run from the idea of multitasking pronto.
We live in an advanced world filled with better technology than we ever dreamed of growing up, and it seems to be getting better every day. But there is a temptation as a human being to want to keep up with it. It’s a temptation that you should avoid. Instead prioritize what you need to do for success and focus on one thing at a time, giving it your all every step of the way. Good luck!