Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational speaker who can cover the topic of multitasking and achieving your potential in life at your next business event. Contact us to check availability. The full transcript of the above video is included below.


Full Video Transcript:

Hi and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to talk about multitasking. Does multitasking work? Look, the research on this is absolutely consistent. Multitasking is not as effective as focusing on one thing at a time. The research shows this consistently. There’s been no debate on this for a long time, at least in terms of the scientific studies that have been done on this.

Now, having said that, the younger generations, I’m 43 years old, so people who are younger than me, people say in their 20s or early 30s and teenagers, they grew up having so much stimulation, so much stuff going on at the same time in many cases between mobile phones and the television’s on and people talking to them or whatever else, just stimulation that their brains are actually rewiring themselves in a very different way than people, say, my age or older than me like the baby boomers, for example. And they’ve actually done pictures, scans of the brain to see the activity that’s taking place and people in my age group and older, you see like these really thick neural pathways that are being used very regularly and there’s a lot of open space in between them, whereas a younger brain, there’s activity going all over the place in all these different directions. So, arguably, the younger folks are better at multitasking than the older folks like myself or people who are older than me, but the reality is that still for those younger people, they still do better by focusing on one thing at a time.

Here’s the deal. You only live once. You were born on one date, you’re going to die on another date. I say this in a lot of my videos. Right now we’re in between the two somewhere. So what are you going to do from today until the end? This is your chance. This is your life. What are you going to do with your life? If you spread yourself too thin, you’re going to have an average impact in all of those areas, maybe slightly above average or below average depending on your capabilities. But the bottom line is that if you want to have a huge impact and do something great, you have to focus on your best skill set. So maybe the question is, what is your best skill set? And a lot of people go through their entire lives not being able to answer that question. They don’t necessarily know, what is my primary skill set? And that’s something that I can’t easily help you with.

One thing you might want to consider is, what questions do people ask you? When someone asks you a question, it’s very interesting. Number one, they have a problem and they believe you have the answer. By them asking you a question, they’re saying they’re interested in that and they think that you have the answer. And we all have natural…because people ask me certain questions all the time. Those questions are actually a fairly good gauge of what your natural skill set is because other people sense it in you. So you can follow the questions to try and identify that best skill set in your own life.

But regardless of what it is, you have to find your best skill set and focus on that and learn to say no to other things. People say yes too often. They say yes too often. That’s like the short-term fix, the easiest way out of an uncomfortable situation. Maybe it’s awkward, like they’re asking you to do something. Saying no is awkward. Saying yes is easy. You say yes, problem is solved, they’re happy and everything goes away. You say no, now there’s a little bit of tension. So people, they have a reluctance to say no. They don’t easily want to say no. But we have to learn to say no because the yes is a short-term fix, the no allows you to get a long-term fix.

Now, if you’re just going to say no and be selfish and do nothing with your time, then that’s not obviously what this video is about. But if you have your best skill set that you’re trying to focus on and do something great and have a big impact and you say no on something that’s not consistent with that so that you can focus your time on what you’re working on, then I support that. That is a long-term view. You’re thinking legacy. You’re thinking long-term. You’re thinking, “Where am I going to have the best impact in my life? And I’m going to say no to these other things to focus on this.”

So again, if you’re not going to focus on the right thing and just say no just because you’re not being agreeable and don’t want to help anybody, that’s not what this video’s about. I don’t support that. But if you say no to things that aren’t consistent with your best skill set and your legacy and what you want to do and instead focus your time on what you do want to do, I support that. And there’s a great quote out there, and I don’t even remember who said it, so I apologize for not being able to reference the source, but the quote goes like this: If you don’t prioritize your life, somebody else will. Somebody else will. If you don’t prioritize your life, somebody else will. They will get you to do things. They will ask for favors. They will do whatever they want to do, which will take up your time and stop you indirectly from doing perhaps what you’re put on this earth to do.

Figure out what your best skill set is and focus your life on that. Think long-term. Think legacy.

Thanks so much for watching this video. My name is Patrick, reminding you as always to think bigger about your business, think bigger about your life.

Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at business conferences in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.