“The competency we should be focussing on is the ability to prioritise,” says Kristen Hansen, Neuroleadership speaker and trainer.
“I think we’ve forgotten that prioritising is one of the key skills in the workforce because almost as soon as we open our emails we have a full day’s worth of things to do and we allow that to be our prioritising tool,” she continues.
“If we can get back to prioritising, focussing on one thing at a time, we will find that we’ll get better quality work, produced at a faster rate, by happier and healthier employees.”
Hansen says the current workplace is facing a multi-tasking epidemic, with many employees attempting to juggle several tasks at the same time – instead, they should be blocking out small sections of their day to focus on specific or similar tasks.
“Everyone is always going to have so many things on the go but we need to distinguish that there can be many things on the go but you can still prioritise and focus on one thing at a time,” says Hansen.
“Even if you have a 10 minute block or a 15 minute block or a 30 minute block, if we can train ourselves to prioritise and focus on one thing for each of those blocks, we’ll see better outcomes,” she continues.
Hansen also says employees and leaders should attempt to group their blocks so they’re focussing on similar issues for longer periods.
“We have to think about how we can change our mind-set from one where we’re spending 10 minutes in innovation, 10 minutes in admin, 10 minutes in finance, 10 minutes in marketing, and 10 minutes in relationship management – that’s too much variation,” says Hansen.
“This is where the prioritising comes in – if we can really plan some of our stages and prioritise what needs to happen when, we’ll see much better results.”
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There’s at least one widely forgotten skill which is sadly lacking in many modern workplaces – but if HR professionals can bring it back, they could see increased productivity and improved engagement.