So there you are. Right in the middle of a noisy chaotic workspace. You’ve just been asked to carry out a long string of tasks … no errors … top speed! Sounds like everyday life, doesn’t it?
This was the challenge posed in a research study conducted by D.C. Glass. Half of the subjects were asked to complete a certain set of tasks surrounded by loud and unpredictable noises. The other half of the group was asked to tackle the same tasks in the same space. What was the difference? The second group was given a button that, when pressed, would let them cut the distracting noises from the workspace.
Which group do you think did the best work .. most tasks…fewest errors? If you guessed the group with the button, you’d be right. They did complete more tasks with better results. Here’s what is most interesting about the experiment. The members of the second group, who had access to the button, did not press it.
It seems that simply knowing that you have a choice makes a huge difference. If you have access to tools that can help you focus and concentrate, that can be enough to improve your performance, even if you never use them.
That might help explain some of the puzzling research results in time management training. Surveys conducted by Macan show that those who have been introduced to the tools and practices of time management report greater satisfaction, less stress, and a stronger sense of control – even though they may not actually be using those tools and techniques. They have, in effect, been given their very own buttons to be ‘pressed’ into service.
So what can you learn from this? That it’s a smart thing to keep learning about ways to improve your performance. Even if you do not use all the techniques, adding them to your tool kit will help you feel more capable of handling the demands of everyday life and more satisfied with your efforts. Expand your knowledge and you expand your choices! Exercising them is optional.
- What options might you already have at your disposal that you don’t even see?
- What choices could you offer to others?
© Patricia Katz MCE CHRP of Optimus Consulting is a speaker, author and consultant who helps individuals and organizations restore the rhythm of renewal to work and life. To bring Patricia’s expertise to your organization, contact her at www.patkatz.com or toll free at (877) 728-5289.