At this point we all know that being a good multitasker is a myth. The time it takes to context switch between projects can vastly wipe-out any perceived productivity.
This has become more apparent to me recently as I have been asked to take on more work, or have taken on more for myself. As a result annual goals fall behind, projects make slow progress and planning overhead rises. This has knock on effects to perceived expertise – the amount of forward movement on a particular project is less in real-time than hoped. When a month passes by with only a week of progress things are intuitively slow and perceived value drops.
It’s important to say “No” to incoming requests and limit what is on your plate at any one time. This actually can have a positive impact on your perceived value. Saying “Yes” and failing or being late is far worse than saying “No” and leaving the impression that you have more important work to do.
Focus is critical to both your own stress management, your external perceived value, and your productivity. Strive for only what is important, say “no” more often, and you will benefit.