EWA Principle: Methods to Avoid Task Switching

In this video, Jamison and Matt from EWA discuss the importance of avoiding task switching to maximize productivity. Task switching refers to interruptions that can significantly reduce productivity, and they highlight how even small interruptions can have a big impact. They provide an example of how task switching affects performance and share practical tips like going into airplane mode, using “Do Not Disturb” signs, and employing software to stay focused. The goal is to help their team and viewers work more efficiently and provide better service to their clients.

Video Transcript

I am. Jamison with EWA. Matt with EWA. In this video, we’re going to go over a principle that our firm follows, and this is going to be around task switching. Matt, tell us what we mean by task switching.

Yeah, so that’s a great principle that you bring up. Jameson so task switching just means when we’re doing our deep work for clients, if we’re analyzing something really complicated while that work is happening, we may have ten emails go through, phone notifications pop off, someone may come into my office.

And studies have shown in different books that we’ve read that every interruption you have could take away 15 minutes of productivity and technology right now, ultimately can help us, but if not structured for your benefit, can cause a lot of interruptions.

So ultimately, the firm principle is to avoid task switching at all cost. Awesome. Matt, can you give us an example of how this can be applied? Yeah, it’s a simple exercise that will take team members through just to illustrate how disastrous task switching can be and why it’s important to finish one task before starting the next.

So I’m going to pick on you, if that’s okay. Jameson so the first thing to do I’m going to time you is just count one through ten and then say the letters of the alphabet. A all the way up through J.

All right, I got my phone here. So three, two, one, go. 1234-5678, 910. A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-I. So I stopped you at J. It was 5.3 seconds. Okay, so I asked you to do one task, and that task is one through ten.

A through J did it in 5.3 seconds. So now let’s imagine that you get interrupted. So I want you to go one and then to the letter A and then two to B. And we’re going to go up to ten and J. Ten and ten.

All right, so we’re going to try to simulate the task switching idea. All right? Three, two, one, go. One. A, two, b, three, c, 4d. Five e six f seven g eight h nine I ten j 18.3 seconds. That was almost three and a half times the amount of time it took you.

If you just did the task from the get go versus if you bounce back and forth, say, I’m finished to finish this email, this C mode just came through, et cetera. So task switching. Some of the actual things that we recommend our team members do so we can focus on the deep work of our clients, is A, go airplane mode in your phone if you’re really in the middle of deep work.

B, lock your door. Maybe even push a chair under your door. Let team members know we actually have Do Not disturb signs sometimes they’re embarrassing if clients see those. Mine has a dinosaur on it, actually.

And then also you can put your email notifications so they’re silent. You can put your email so that there’s no pop ups that occur. All of these kind of things can help. Avoidance of task switching. And then I also have software, it’s called Stay Focused that any social media, any sports, any YouTube site, for example, after ten minutes in a 24 hours period, it eliminates my ability to go on those websites.

So it helps me stay focused and avoid task switching. Thanks, man. I think this has been really helpful for me specifically and the whole team to be able to be as efficient with our time, and that way we can maximize the work that we’re doing for our clients.

We’ll catch you in the next video.

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