- Consumed several hundred EXTRA calories
- Sent her sponsor a draft scope document and sent her business analyst a vendor contract (which was meant for her sponsor)
- Unknowingly agreed to participate in a presentation during her vacation
- Unwittingly increased the actual time a team members task would take from 3 hours to 4 hours
Wow, that’s not such a great day. I am sure you hope that this is not typical for Joan or if it is, I am sure you are glad you do not work with her! But the truth is this might be typical for Joan and many others like her and if you do not work with her, you might actually BE her. You see Joan spends a great deal of her time multitasking. She feels a great deal of pressure to complete all kinds of tasks simultaneously. The end result is not always as productive or beneficial as you may think.
On this particular day Joan had participated in a virtual meeting during the middle of the day. Although Joan was required to attend this meeting, she was not the facilitator and so she participated in the meeting while doing other things. Just before the meeting began Joan ran out and bought herself a treat, fried zucchini and a chocolate shake. She decided she would only eat half of zucchini and drink half of the shake.
While the meeting progressed, Joan sipped on the shake and reached into the bag of fried zucchini to munch. (She kept herself muted unless she needed to speak, so nobody heard her chewing and slurping.) She realized that she owed her business analyst the draft scope document and she also needed to forward a contract on to her sponsor. As she was attaching the scope document to the email to her business analyst, she heard the meeting facilitator call her name.
Joan unmuted herself and responded, “Yes?” The meeting facilitator said, “Joan, are you saying yes this is OK with you?” Not wanting to admit that she had not been paying attention Joan said, “Yes.” She decided she could figure out what she had agreed to later. What Joan had agreed to was to participate in a presentation next week. This could have worked out well, except that Joan was going to be on vacation. After the exchange with the meeting facilitator, Joan once again put herself on mute, reached for more fried zucchini and attached the contract to the email to her business analyst and the scope statement to the email to her sponsor. The meeting concluded and Joan looked down and realized that she had finished ALL of the fried zucchini and the entire chocolate shake.
Joan did not have too much time to contemplate the calories she had just accidentally consumed, she had to go visit some of her team members and redirect their work efforts. She needed them to stop what they were working on immediately and then redirect their attention to something which was a higher priority. She felt a bit guilty about this as this was the second time that day that she would ask them to change direction. However, her guilt quickly changed to annoyance when one of her team members looked at her and said, “Don’t you realize that every time you ask us to start something, then stop it, then restart it again, that you cost us time? Did you know that each time we start a task over again, it takes time for us to get back on track?”
Joan looked at him and said, “Around here the efficient employees like myself learn how to multitask, you better do the same.” She did not even comprehend the irony of her words.