Happy New Year! I thought I’d get a new post out before the 15th of January, but here we are half way through the first month of 2015!
My boss shared this link: The 7 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs (Tenacity, Passion, Tolerance of Ambiguity, Vision, Self-belief, Flexibility, and Rule-breaking) with our team a while back. I was surprised that they said most entrepreneurs weren’t neurotic. I’ve met more than a few neurotic entrepreneurs and have felt like one myself at times…maybe they define it differently than I have seen others exhibit it.
There are so many moving parts to a new business that I think it helps to be able to multitask, but sometimes it hurts a business too. A friend sent me the article below about the Supertasker test that helps you figure out if you are one of the 2% of the people in the world who can actually multitask vs. ineffectively task switch. It made me wonder who those supertaskers were and if they could do the same thing they were able to do with two kids in the back seat asking you every 5 minutes to look at something, change the radio station, or telling their sibling to quit making some noise or the other. 🙂 Check out these articles:
Only 2% of People Can Multitask Successfully [INFOGRAPHIC] – Mashable
Take The ‘Supertasker’ Test To See If You’re A Genius – lifehacker
Is Your Brain Multitasking – Psychology Today
How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking – Harvard Business Review
| Filed under: entrepreneurship
, working mom
, working mother
| Tags: happy new year
, harvard business review
, psychology today
| Comments Off on Entrepreneurial Traits and Multi-tasking
We’ve all heard about the pluses and minuses of multitasking. We’ve also heard that women tend to be better at multitasking than men. I think it depends on the person. I’ve worked with some men who have been excellent at juggling many things, but overall I think women are wired to be better at it because of having children. Children, especially more than one (I can’t imagine having 3 or more), tend to pull you in 5 directions at once and if you don’t have one eye on a kid, he could fall into a lava pit or a crocodile could eat her.
I’ve always been fairly good at multitasking or should I say serial tasking. I can jump back and forth from thing to thing and get most things done timely. It’s probably somewhat of an ADD trait that I’ve heard many entrepreneurs confess to having, but there’s a point when it becomes counter productive (see Dilbert comic below).
I’m dealing with about 5 really big things right now and each has its own complexities. Way beyond what one person should advisedly handle at one time. And because I can’t focus fully on one thing, everything seems to be suffering or shall I say I’m not executing 100% or able to play my A game at any of them. I even published a blog post I didn’t mean to publish and I’ve never done that in the over 2 years I’ve been blogging! There are constraints (time, money, stamina, fear, etc.) that seem impossible to work around in the near term and ‘impossible’ is a word that I usually smile at. And in between there are birthday parties to plan and bills to pay.
I remember dealing with so many things when I was founding CEO of my first start-up from customers, suppliers, investors, board members, to employees, etc. Each area needed special attention and invariably one or more suffers at some time or another. You had to have your shit together when facing each constituent even if you felt like everything was just a hair away from falling apart. You have to play the part superbly (no room to mess up your lines) and make sure your customers know you aren’t going to disappear tomorrow. And you have to make sure your investors and Board haven’t lost faith in you and can see that the customers still have faith in you. And you have to keep morale up with your employees and assure your suppliers you’ll pay them. So many entrepreneurs get lost at times like these because it is hard to keep all those balls up in the air while at the same time making sure you take care of yourself (i.e., minimize the fast food and lack of exercise).
So what do we do? We get up. We put our pants/skirts on and we show up. We put a smile on our face because we have to, and we know no one really understands how we sometimes feel like we are free falling with no safety net and no parachute. Of course, if you aren’t anti-social, you have friends and family to listen to you when you feel like crying or punching the wall, but unless they’ve also walked a mile in your shoes, they can’t fully understand the sensations or lack thereof that you are processing. And sometimes they let you down because they don’t know how to be there for you like you need and that hurts. Or they think they are trying to be there for you and instead they inadvertently hurt you. And most of the time when you feel like punching that wall, you can’t! So you put your game face on. You hide and fake it until it eventually turns around. It does eventually turn around but it feels like a hurricane while you walk through high winds putting one step in front of the other. As an entrepreneur, you have to be optimistic or at least optimistically pessimistic or is that pessimistically optimistic. 🙂
And if you have kids, they can all of a sudden give you a reason to keep on going as my son did today. One of my good friend’s father died last week and they are going to miss my son’s upcoming birthday party. They have a son a year younger who he loves playing with, and I took both kids over to visit them this evening. I told my son, let’s bring him one of the little Hot Wheel cars that we got for your goody bags since he can’t make your party. He said, “Let me look for the best one…my favorite one. I want to give him the best one.” He knew his friend’s grandfather had died, although he doesn’t really know what death means. He showed me the car he wanted to give him and it was the special one he had chosen for himself, and I started to cry. I hugged him and told him how proud I was of him for doing such a nice thing and how special it was to show how much he cared for his friend during this time. He hugged me back because he saw how happy I was with him. My daughter asked me why I was crying, because I never cry in front of them (or cry often for that matter) and I told her I was happy that her brother was so thoughtful and she hugged me too. I thought to myself “I guess I’ve done at least something right to have an almost 7 year old son with such a good heart.”
On the car ride over I told him to play with his friend and make him happy and laugh. And he said “Just like I do with my sister when she’s upset? I do this and that to make her laugh.” They both started laughing in the car and I said “Yes, just like that. It’s nice to make people smile in hard times.” Then I cried some more silent tears of sadness and happiness at the two beautiful kids I have been blessed with.
So the moral of this post I guess is Don’t over multitask. Have kids. Although kids are a big cause of over multitasking, they help you keep things in perspective and give you the reason to wake up in the morning, put your pants/skirt on, put your smiling game face on, and figure out how to do the impossible! 😀
| Filed under: entrepreneurship
| Tags: entrepreneurship
| 5 Comments »