Why Multitasking is a Blow to Your Sales Productivity — And Health
By Maddy Osman on Jul 18, 2019
The multitasking fallacy, fueled by distraction, is not a new story in the world we live in today.
It’s told time and time again, further amplified by our screen addictions. In fact, people have gotten so good at being distracted and splitting their focus that the act of concentration is now viewed as a “lost art”.
That’s right. Focusing on something—anything—is as lost to us and out of fashion as barrel making.
What’s really ironic is that when working on sales, your aim is to break through the clutter. You find success is getting in front of people at the right time with the right pitch, customized to your prospect’s role. And it’s hard to outsmart the distractions of others when you yourself are distracted.
The Negative Effects of Multitasking in Sales
For as distracted as we know we are, multitasking is a result that reigns supreme in the workplace. Especially in sales, you’re almost trained to stop what you’re doing at any given moment — to pick up and run with the best opportunities as they present themselves in real-time.
But staying focused matters.
The negative effects of multitasking in sales can be a major blow to both your career and your health.
A Decrease in Motivation
In a study out of Stanford, researchers were able to link heavy multitasking to an impairment of cognitive control in students’ brains. Similar findings link the act of multitasking to a lessening of emotional and motivational regulation.
Essentially, what this means is that when you multitask, you’re damaging your brain’s ability to process information and motivate over time. And for those in sales, self-motivation is key — especially when faced with looming end-of-month quotas and regular obstacles.
Your Ability to Work Efficiently is Impaired
The toll of multitasking on cognitive control also makes it more difficult for you to filter out what’s relevant to a current goal. So while you think you may be achieving more by task switching, the reality is: you’re not.
When you switch back and forth between different tasks, it requires small shifts that come at a cost to brain resources and energy. More specifically? Roughly 23 minutes and 15 seconds — the average amount of time it takes someone to refocus post-distraction — and a failure to be productive.
Added Stress and Anxiety
On a scale of one to ten, how stressed out does working in sales make you?
There’s no sugarcoating the fact that a job in sales comes with its own special level of anxiety. It’s a rush that can either propel your forward or leave you rocking back and forth in a corner. You either get better at handling it over time or you find ways to make your work easier.
Multitasking is not one of those ways.
It increases the brain’s production of cortisol, the hormone behind stress. And stress compounded makes your work in sales anything but enjoyable.
The act of multitasking negatively affects your ability to process information, which can mean big problems for your memory. Similarly, studies have shown that those who multitask frequently experience drops in IQ points as a result.
All of these factors working together lead to some serious downfalls in decision-making. This is a consequence you can’t afford to take on when attempting to connect with prospects on a personal level and perfect your closing techniques.
Harm to Potential Relationships
While the rise of mobile may have given sales reps a new way to get in front of potential prospects, it has also amplified the urge to multitask. So much so that there’s even a term for people who check their devices constantly: technoference.
To be successful in sales, you need to be successful in establishing connections with people — in building meaningful relationships with potential customers. And if you’re someone who opts for staring at a screen over holding eye contact, you may be unconsciously ruining your sales close.
Combat Your Desire to Multitask in Sales
The moral of the story?
You need to reign in the desire to shift gears mid-task.
You haven’t found a miraculous way to get more done during the day by jumping on every email notification that comes across your screen. You’re cutting corners and selling yourself short (pun intended).
The statistical evidence for boosting productivity is out there. Now it’s on you to make an effort and put in the work.
Time Block Your Day
Time blocking may have come into vogue thanks to Elon Musk, but plenty of experts and scientists agree that it’s a surefire way to boost productivity. It’s a method that consists of chunking out your day by activity or task.
For example, if customers are most responsive in the early morning, maybe you designate your 8-8:30 AM calendar time slot for responding to emails (something you can then revisit again later in the afternoon). This ensures that you keep your focus narrowed on a single to do rather than haphazardly jumping from one thing to the next.
Limit the Distractions
There’s a whole slew of apps for helping you avoid distractions both on desktop and mobile. Heck, even iPhones now come with screen time monitoring built-in to the software.
Try to be conscious of triggers when it comes to multitasking tendencies. It’ll take some time and retraining of your focus-loving muscle memory, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
Streamline Your Sales Workflow
Another way to block distractions and prevent task switching is to make it unnecessary.
The Salesforce Integration offered through Cirrus Insight eliminates the need for you to do double the work on double the data entry. Using it minimizes the number of tabs you need to have open at any given time — aka, less distractions calling for your attention.
When you can work within your inbox, without duplicating the effort to log new contacts, activities, or calendar events, you have more time (and energy) available to devote to core sales development activities.
With Cirrus Insight, you can also schedule meetings using your calendar availability, without the need for an annoying email exchange that starts with, “What time works for you?”.
Using Flight Plans, you can incorporate many of Cirrus Insight’s most popular features in a sales email automation campaign that helps you to more effectively reach prospects at scale.
All of this makes for a more productive sales workflow, giving you less tasks to juggle and more time to focus on what matters.
Final Thoughts: Why Multitasking is Harmful to Your Sales Productivity and Health
Multitasking may not be the only thing holding you back in sales month-to-month but it’s certainly not doing you (or your health) any favors. Take advantage of productivity tools on the market to keep distractions at bay and maximize your potential to get the job done.
Get started in doing just that with a free 14-day trial of Cirrus Insight. Set up is fast and easy, with no credit card required.