career-tools

How Not To Multi-Task - Part 2

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I give up multi-tasking?
  • How do learn to concentrate?
  • What do I do when I get distracted?

The conclusion of our guidance on what to do instead of multi-tasking.

We've said often on air that multi-tasking is a lie. We don't mince our words, and we totally mean it. Multi-tasking is impossible for humans. It's not even possible for computers. In the early days they just switched between tasks so quickly that it seemed as if they were multi-tasking. Nowadays they have multiple chips, so it can be argued they are multi-tasking, but you still only have one brain, so the argument doesn't help you.

Yes, you can rub your belly and pat your head at the same time. How much concentration does that take though? If we do it, we can't do anything else, because doing those two things simultaneously takes up our WHOLE brain.

We sometimes show this video at our conferences: Test Your Awareness: Do The Test. In it, you're asked to look out for the number of passes the basketball players make. Something else happens in the video, which if you haven't seen it before, you won't see. Why? BECAUSE YOU CAN'T MULTITASK! If you are counting basketball passes (a relatively simple task) you cannot see the other things that happen.

And, it doesn't matter if you're male or female, old or young, computer savvy or technically barely literate. No-one can multi-task. It's just not in our physiology. (Humans differ by .1% from each other, so we're all a lot more the same that we are different).

Those of you who are thinking, but this isn't me .. *I* can multi-task, you're wrong, but apparently not being convinced. Please try and experiment with us. Try these techniques for just a week and see if your output improves. If it doesn't, you can go back to multi-tasking with our blessing.


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How Not To Multi-Task - Part 1

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I give up multi-tasking?
  • How do learn to concentrate?
  • What do I do when I get distracted?

Our guidance on what to do instead of multi-tasking.

We've said often on air that multi-tasking is a lie. We don't mince our words, and we totally mean it. Multi-tasking is impossible for humans. It's not even possible for computers. In the early days they just switched between tasks so quickly that it seemed as if they were multi-tasking. Nowadays they have multiple chips, so it can be argued they are multi-tasking, but you still only have one brain, so the argument doesn't help you.

Yes, you can rub your belly and pat your head at the same time. How much concentration does that take though? If we do it, we can't do anything else, because doing those two things simultaneously takes up our WHOLE brain.

We sometimes show this video at our conferences: Test Your Awareness: Do The Test. In it, you're asked to look out for the number of passes the basketball players make. Something else happens in the video, which if you haven't seen it before, you won't see. Why? BECAUSE YOU CAN'T MULTITASK! If you are counting basketball passes (a relatively simple task) you cannot see the other things that happen.

And, it doesn't matter if you're male or female, old or young, computer savvy or technically barely literate. No-one can multi-task. It's just not in our physiology. (Humans differ by .1% from each other, so we're all a lot more the same that we are different).

Those of you who are thinking, but this isn't me .. *I* can multi-task, you're wrong, but apparently not being convinced. Please try and experiment with us. Try these techniques for just a week and see if your output improves. If it doesn't, you can go back to multi-tasking with our blessing.


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What To Do With A Counter Offer

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • Should I take a counter offer from my manager?
  • Can I negotiate using a counter offer?
  • Should I interview just to get a counter offer?

Our guidance on what to do when you receive a counter-offer.

As the economy heats up, those of you in professions where talent is short will receive multiple offers for new roles. In addition, when you try to resign, your current company will counter-offer. That is, they will offer you more money, benefits, training or a promotion to stay.

In some areas of the economy, this is already happening. In our experience, the first time most people are counter-offered, they don't know what to do. This guidance addresses that situation.


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A Notebook And A Pen

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • Do I have to take notes on paper?
  • What notebook should I choose?
  • What pen should I choose?

Our guidance on having a notebook and pen with you at all times, and what to do with it.

Years ago, Wendii was responsible for the 'work experience boy'. In the UK, 14/15/16 year olds spend a week or two weeks in whatever employment they can find, called work experience. Usually, they have a parent or a parent's friend in the organization they end up at. This teenage boy came into the office on his first day, and Wendii gave him a notepad and pen, showed him where he was going to sit and so on. Then it came time to start describing the work he was going to do. His first question? "Do I need to write this down?".

He was 14 or 15. He can be forgiven not knowing that he should have a pen and notepad with him. He can be forgiven not knowing when to start writing – since in school, he would have been told: "write this down". However, if you're permanently in the workforce, your exemption is gone. So, what kind of notebook and pen, and when to use it?


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Interviewing On Skype - Part 2

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • What do I need to consider when interviewing on Skype?
  • How do I make a Skype call effective?
  • What kind of interview can I expect by Skype?

The conclusion of our guidance on how to interview when the interview is conducted over Skype.

We have been getting questions about Skype interviews for some time, and the incidence of this type of interview will only get more frequent as time goes on. Whilst tele-conference interviews never became as common as was predicted – it was much harder to schedule and the technology was and remained much more expensive than expected – Skype is cheaper and easier to use. In addition, most of us have a computer at home which will run Skype, and most of us have webcams. Therefore, companies can expect the interviewee to have the requisite equipment at home, and that requesting a Skype interview doesn't cause an unnecessary burden.

So having put forward a case that you're likely to be asked to a Skype interview – and even more likely in the future, what do you need to do?


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Interviewing On Skype - Part 1

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • What do I need to consider when interviewing on Skype?
  • How do I make a Skype call effective?
  • What kind of interview can I expect by Skype?

Our guidance on how to interview when the interview is conducted over Skype.

We have been getting questions about Skype interviews for some time, and the incidence of this type of interview will only get more frequent as time goes on. Whilst tele-conference interviews never became as common as was predicted – it was much harder to schedule and the technology was and remained much more expensive than expected – Skype is cheaper and easier to use. In addition, most of us have a computer at home which will run Skype, and most of us have webcams. Therefore, companies can expect the interviewee to have the requisite equipment at home, and that requesting a Skype interview doesn't cause an unnecessary burden.

So having put forward a case that you're likely to be asked to a Skype interview – and even more likely in the future, what do you need to do?


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How To Eat Lunch - Part 2

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • Should I eat lunch at my desk?
  • Should I eat with others?
  • What should I have for lunch?

This guidance completes our discussion on how to handle your lunch hour.

This may not make sense to a lot of folks, us talking about how to eat lunch. But the fact is, we all do it almost every day at work. If you do take a full hour, that's roughly 10% or maybe even 15% of your day as a manager or professional. That's a huge part of everyone's day. But, for many of us, our approach to it is rooted in how we had lunch at home as kids, or in school. That makes no sense for the busy professional today.

Suppose your boss takes a 45 minute lunch break most days between 1230 and 115. Should you eat then too, or eat at a different time? Should we eat a big meal, or a small one? I'm so busy…should I work through lunch, at my desk?

In a way, lunch at work is like email: we learned how to eat before we became professionals, and we learned how to communicate before we started doing email. And in both cases we probably have some bad habits worth pruning.


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How To Eat Lunch - Part 1

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • Should I eat lunch at my desk?
  • Should I eat with others?
  • What should I have for lunch?

This guidance describes how to handle your lunch hour.

This may not make sense to a lot of folks, us talking about how to eat lunch. But the fact is, we all do it almost every day at work. If you do take a full hour, that's roughly 10% or maybe even 15% of your day as a manager or professional. That's a huge part of everyone's day. But, for many of us, our approach to it is rooted in how we had lunch at home as kids, or in school. That makes no sense for the busy professional today.

Suppose your boss takes a 45 minute lunch break most days between 1230 and 115. Should you eat then too, or eat at a different time? Should we eat a big meal, or a small one? I'm so busy…should I work through lunch, at my desk?

In a way, lunch at work is like email: we learned how to eat before we became professionals, and we learned how to communicate before we started doing email. And in both cases we probably have some bad habits worth pruning.


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Assessment Centers - Role-Play

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I prepare for an assessment center?
  • How can I be successful during a role play?
  • What am I supposed to being during a role play?

This cast gives our guidance on how to deal with role-play exercises in assessment centers.

Over the years, we've heard hundreds of people say 'I hate role-plays'. They say it at our Effective Communications Conference, and a couple of hours later, they are doing great version of a High D or C or whatever we have asked them to do.

We only don't like role-plays because they put us out of our comfort zone and make us feel awkward. But isn't the fabulous new job you want worth a bit of awkwardness?


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How To Read A Book

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • What mindset should I have when reading?
  • How should I take notes?
  • How do I remember to take action?

This cast gives a guide to reading non-fiction with the aim of enhancing your career.

Some of us were taught how to read non-fiction in school. Some of us were taught how to critically review the arguments put forward and to analyze for ourselves whether the arguments made sense to us. Some of us were never taught, and some of us have forgotten how.

Some books are so good we want to try everything they suggest and we become overwhelmed and/or quickly burned out. That's where we get the 'flavor of the month' label. Sometimes we read ten or fifteen books and don't implement anything. That's wasted time.

So what is the best way to get value from the books we buy?


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