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Why Agents Should Try 'Cluster Tasking' over Multitasking

July 17 2019

I admit that I am as guilty as everybody else by neglecting my own attempt to improve my time management by not multitasking. For example, a few weeks ago, I had a social event to attend at 5pm, errands to run from 3:30 to about 4:30, and a plan to start preparing an appetizer for the event at 1pm.

I had my act together and all the ingredients on the counter ready to start—and the phone rings. It's a possible client who asked if I had time to talk.

Did I have time to talk? No. Did I talk? Yes, for over an hour.

While talking to him, I am preparing the dip, muting the call so he didn't hear my KitchenAid mixer running in the background and the clanging of preparing the appetizer. Yep, guilty as charged! (FYI: I made Chipped Cream Beef Dip. Let me know if you are interested in the recipe.)

The Perils of Divided Attention

We all have problems with deadlines. Somehow we end up needing to have something done or to be someplace at a certain time.

Thanks to electronic communications, we are accessible almost 24/7 a day. The person attempting to contact us doesn't know what is happening at that moment, so yes, we add another layer to our crazy life by not giving undivided attention to one thing at a time. We think we are good at it, but no way! Friday afternoon, I should have been at my desk taking notes of our conversation, following up with an email that highlights important points from the discussion. Did I? Hell no—I had a party to attend!

Try Cluster Tasking

Let's talk about "cluster tasking," which I should have done Friday afternoon. I do practice this when writing and building presentations (well, at least I try).

I block out a certain amount of time—normally 30 to 60 minutes—which involves putting my phone on mute, placing it in another room and putting my computer on "Do Not Disturb" mode. This lets me be able to give 100% of my attention to what I am doing.

Remember in an earlier article I talked about 40% drop in productivity when multitasking and 17% reduction in crain density? By cluster tasking for one hour at a time, I have increased my productivity equal to one hour and 24 minutes. If you do this four times a day, you have added more than 96 minutes to your day!

Remember my slogan? "Don't work harder, work smarter!"

Next time, I will discuss how tasks can swell to the time allowed. Ever do a complete house cleaning in 30 minutes? More than likely... YES!

Dick Betts is a national speaker, trainer and consultant. Learn more at