Leaving "the Gray Zone"

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I recently spent a wonderful hour with members of the City of Fountains chapter in Kansas City, Mo. The meeting topic was about reducing stress at work. Several of the members talked about how juggling tasks is a job requirement for all admins. They also described how stress from work carries over into the rest of their lives. Their comments certainly align with the increase in job responsibilities admins reported for IAAP's most recent skills benchmarking survey.

Tony Schwartz, CEO of the training and development firm The Energy Project, recently wrote an excellent blog post for the Harvard Business Review titled "The Magic of Doing One Thing At A Time." Schwartz argues that all this multitasking is actually making companies less productive and workers more miserable. He suggests a few simple steps that managers and employees can take to reduce work flow clutter and become more effective and efficient. His main point is to regularly set aside time to focus at work. "The best way for an organization to fuel higher productivity and more innovative thinking is to strongly encourage finite periods of absorbed focus, as well as shorter periods of real renewal," Schwartz writes.