Multi-Tasking Through a Crisis: Valentine’s Day 2019

If you’re looking for the next crisis, you’ve come to the right place. Candy conversation hearts, the iconic Valentine’s Day candy, won’t be on store shelves this year.

Necco (New England Confectionery Company), the parent company of Sweethearts, ceased operations back in July.

candy-hearts.jpg

Now Americans are faced with the terrifying prospect of having to use their own words to express their love.

For any station that wants to save their listeners from this nightmare, the candy is being sold online, but due to anticipated demand, rationing has already begun.

Fortunately, plans are already in place to resume making the candy hearts next year. In the meantime, Krispy Kreme is stepping up to help fill the void.

krispy

With people wearing multiple hats and often finding that there aren’t enough hours in the day, how do we navigate the crisis of the moment and infinite distractions without sacrificing what’s truly important, but often not urgent?

Multi-Tasking Redefined

For many, multi-tasking is a necessary evil. Sitting through a meeting, means falling behind on email, so you pick up the phone and take a quick look.

Turns out, not all multi-tasking is created equally. According to Harvard Business Review,  there are “two types of multitasking — concurrent multitasking, in which you do two or more activities at the same time (talking on the phone while driving) and serial multitasking, in which you switch rapidly between tasks (preparing your next meeting and answering an email, being interrupted by a colleague, checking Twitter).”

Turns out, serial multitasking boils down to rapidly switching between activities. However, when we’re trying to do more than walk and chew gum or talking on the phone while driving, “there is a stop/start process that goes on in the brain. That start/stop/start process is rough on us: rather than saving time, it costs time (even very small micro seconds), it’s less efficient, we make more mistakes, and over time it can be energy sapping.”

All is not lost. According to an article in Fast Company, “While true multitasking–doing two or more things simultaneously–is rarely effective, sensible toggling among activities can be fruitful. ”

In fact, according to MIT research, “people who juggle between two and four projects at a time tend to be more productive than those who focus exclusively on one. This way, you can continue making progress in one area when you’ve temporarily run out of steam in another.”To help determine, whether or not multi-tasking is appropriate, Fast Company put together this matrix.

Multitasking.jpg
Whether the next crisis is real or imagined, the communities we serve turn to radio for context and information, so these skills are essential.

On behalf of Catherine Jung, Doug Smith and everyone at DMR/Interactive, thanks for reading and working to drive radio forward.

Andrew Curran, President and COO

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