Multi-tasking and The China Supply Chain

Many people believe that the ability to multi-task is a fundamental skill for increasing productivity, especially when applying this idea to the China supply chain­–but this isn’t always the case. According to this article, multi-tasking can be counter-productive; it also reduces intelligence and makes you perform slower, not faster. In this blog, we’ll discuss how multi-tasking can distract you from your end goal, and how to avoid it.

A study at the University of London found that participants who multi-tasked performed worse than those who did one thing at a time. According to this article in Forbes, these participants also experienced a decline in their IQ scores.

Multi-tasking with your China supply chain has a similar effect–except that you are multi-tasking across time zones, making it that much harder.

Focusing all efforts on one thing at a time yields the best results. Most people can “walk and chew gum” at the same time, but that is because neither of these tasks require concentration or thinking.  So how do you avoid sacrificing concentration and quality for perceived productivity?

Be where you are, WHEN you are there.

If you are focused on the sales and business development of your US operation while simultaneously trying to get your China supply chain to work optimally, you are likely to do poorly in both. These are very different tasks. Both are complex and demanding, and both require in-depth understanding.

If you observe business ownerswho achieve optimal performance, you find that they oftenrely on specialists to get things done .Example: one specialized team for sales and development, and a completely separate one to manage their China supply chain.

For a China team to be efficient and most productive, each member too should avoid multi-tasking, each team member should be immersed in their function, using their training and expertise to focus efforts on specific aspects of the China supply chain.

Another way to beat multi-tasking is by doing the opposite, like meditating. It is the complete focus on the “here and now”. It grounds you and can actually make you smarter (see Great Courses, “Outsmart Yourself: Brain based strategies for a better you”). If, for example, you need to speak at a big meeting and you need to be sharp and focused, take time to meditate beforehand to clear your mind (try the “Headspace” app).

You’ll want to avoid multi-tasking in order to do things better and faster. Working with specialists will also help to keep from having to wear multiple “hats” and play different roles within your business with less-than-optimal performance. Focusing on one task at a time can be beneficial for your US operation as well as for your China supply chain.

Do you agree with this view?How do you avoid the pitfalls of multi-tasking? What tools and resources do you tap into?

By Jocelyn Trigueros

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