The one thing confident service professionals do not do

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I had a beautiful conversation with a friend, Digby, a few weeks ago, all about doing one thing at a time and doing it well. We often go off on a tangent about life by design because we are consciously aware of our mojo and where in our work are we feeling energised. Digby reminded me how important it is to create space in my working days, and how powerful it is to minimise multitasking when working with people.

Think for a moment about all the distractions that can occur during your working day. These may be part of the reason why you might try to multitask. However, when it comes to human-to-human interactions, it’s the people who can engage with whoever is in front of them right now that deliver the best service.

I have seen the impact over the years when service professionals commit to minimising multitasking. They are more confident in each conversation, in problem-solving, and in directing the moment to where it needs to go. This is why my book Service Habits has a whole chapter called, “Minimise Multitasking”.

When you’re in the presence of someone who serves you with their undivided, focused attention, you feel you are in very good hands – that they are 100 per cent committed to you in that moment and they are present with you. By comparison, when someone divides their attention between you and a task, it gives the impression that they’re not listening or they are not fully understanding your needs.

The bad habit of multitasking is closely associated with the fear of not having enough time in a day. In his blog “Take your time”, Seth Godin reminds us that when we serve people, we are not in a race to check off as many boxes as possible; rather, we serve people to create moments that matter.

It’s a great reminder.

“People who multitask are busy; people who don’t multitask are productive.”

Jaquie Scammell


Are you here to get through your to-do list, or are you here to create a life full of connections and memorable moments?


When you’re with people in meetings (online or face to face), can you turn off your notifications and push the phone to the side, to give them your full attention? Try it out, and notice the way the phone and notifications are designed to steal our attention. Don’t hand the power over to the phone: keep your attention focused on the moments you create with the people you’re with.

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