Multi-tasking is worse than Smoking Pot

multi-tasking-pot

17 Mar Multi-tasking is worse than Smoking Pot

At a recent venture event in Los Angeles a friend of mine, Terrence Yang (Yang Ventures), said one of the most profoundly honest things I had heard in a while. He said, “Successful entrepreneurs simply learn faster than others.”

If you are an entrepreneur there is a 99.9% chance that you are reading this post while you managing at least 7-10 other tasks right now. Hell, part of being an entrepreneur is simply being able to handle a million things at once.

Before you start patting yourself on the back…inhale this…

Glenn Wilson of Gresham College in London recently said, “Multitasking is more of a detriment to memory and our ability to concentrate than smoking pot” and I tend to agree with him. So, as an entrepreneur, the next time one of your employee friends asks you, “Are you high?”, tell them yes.

Whether you realize it or not, as an entrepreneur, you are a victim of information overload. This problems occurs when the amount of input to a system (like the human brain) exceeds its processing capacity. As a decision maker, you have fairly limited cognitive processing capacity. Consequently, when information overload occurs, it is likely that a reduction in decision quality occurs.

I am fascinated with the human brain. One of the most interesting things I have learned over the last few years relates to  decision making. It is believed that each one of us have a daily maximum amount of space for prime decision making. Some researchers even estimate that (because of information overload) the average person has maxed out their capacity to make good decisions by 930am. By the way, this would mean an entrepreneur is “cashed out” before 830!

The never-ending stream of emails, voicemails, Tweets, Facebook posts and text messages today keep us entrepreneurs stoned all day. Constant multi-tasking impairs the one thing that can separate us from the pack, our ability to learn faster.

Before you start to doubt what I am saying take a look back at your day so far. How many times have you checked your inbox or social media? Googled something random? Watched a YouTube video with absolutely nothing to do with the success of your company? Text messages? Get the drift? We are constantly distracted.

This problem is not solely a mental issue. The Harvard Business Review recently conducted a study and is now estimating that this constant state of distraction is costing the U.S. economy more than $900 Billion a year!

Here are some interesting numbers for you:

  • The average American spends 12 hours a day taking in information (that’s half of your life)
  • More information has been created in the last 7 years than in the history of mankind combined
  • The average professional gets 100 emails a day and checks their inbox 30-40 time an hour
  • The average entrepreneur spends 45 minutes a day dealing with data and 90 minutes searching for info
  • There will be 35 billion pieces of content created on Facebook this month
  • The average entrepreneur will lie 32 times in denial of this evidence until they admit it!

 

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Eric Rice
eric@trepscore.com