Recently I have been paying attention to how much multi-tasking I am doing in a day. Most of us would pride ourselves with being able to multi-task; me included. What I am becoming acutely aware of is that although it may feel like I’m being uber productive and getting loads done, the task at hand and the people involved are losing out in some small way.
Confucius says; “The man who catches two rabbits catches neither”
Deepak Chopra says: “The more consciousness you have the more potential you have to create”
The lesson in short is; when we give single-pointed attention to a task or person, we are more likely to create quality.
Last week, I learned of a training secret that an organisation includes for their bar staff. They teach them how to cut limes behind the bar while interacting and smiling at the customer simultaneously.
This lime cutting with kindness capability had me intrigued, how much of an expectation do we create for our employees to be able to complete several things at the same time AND still give great service to the person in front of us.
Let’s be honest; we struggle to be fully present with someone at the best of times due to the constant internal chatter we have in our minds. So, when we think about cutting limes with kindness the task actually is three things at once;

  1. Clear your head of any thoughts
  2. Be kind and fully present to the person in front of you
  3. Use a sharp knife and cut limes in a certain way ALL AT THE SAME TIME!

Hmm, my opinion: Cutting limes with kindness is not a skill I would teach my staff.
The idea sounds genius; of course, we all want staff to have enough awareness in an interaction to be able to recognise and smile at a customer whilst completing a task.
The practice is risky; the realistic impact of trying to be fully present with a customer or colleague whilst doing another task is; you are not present, you may miss opportunities or nonverbal clues that assist you in serving that person, you may not listen to them fully as you are concentrating on the other task.
The alternative; I would teach my staff to stop cutting limes when a customer comes into my view or minimum two meters of my service area. I would then teach:

  1. Stop cutting limes
  2. Serve the person in front of you; give them your full attention with all the kindness you possibly have to give.
  3. Continue cutting limes when you are finished serving that person.

From my own experience, I know that when we multi-task we miss the little things and cannot possibly be fully there in that moment.
In service, it’s the little things that make a service experience feel seamless, it’s every moment that matters in service.
We cannot afford to multi-task.
Jaquie Scammell
‘Be in Service’