Recently, I watched a parent, who was just home from work, take their three small children out to ride their bikes. Since seeing kids play outside is not as common as the days of my childhood, this caught my attention and I stopped to observe them.
My excitement quickly turned to disappointment as I watched the parent spend the entire time looking at their phone (even as the kids were laughing and screaming ‘look at me’). The parent was trying to do multiple things at once and was not focused on the opportunity right before them – being engaged in quality time with their kids.
This reminded me of times when I’ve spoken in front of a group at meetings. As you look out into the audience, you see many on their phones and other personal devices, not engaged in the presentation or the activity right in front of them. I often wonder why they took the time and spent the money to attend the conference if they have other matters that are more important. As hospitality industry professionals that believe in the importance of face-to-face meetings, we need to lead by example and demonstrate how to get the most out of these personal interactions. It is not a positive to boast that you are a good multi-tasker. There are many studies (especially for us men) that demonstrate multi-tasking actually makes you less productive. Instead of trying to do multiple tasks at once, let’s show others how to increase their productivity by: 1) staying focused on the present 2) not being distracted and 3) prioritizing our tasks so we can give each one the focus it deserves.
I want to thank this parent for reminding me to focus on my priorities so I can ensure success in the hospitality industry!