Learn from a Teenager

Teenager multitaskingby Tom Baer

OK, everyone in the workforce, no matter what the industry, knows the value of experience.  As you grow in your career you continue to learn, and that experience makes you a more valuable employee.  It’s why as we grow older we move into more senior positions.

But there’s at least one skill where teenagers outperform seasoned veterans hands down: multitasking.   

At an MIP Junior panel discussion this past October, Donna Friedman Meir, Chief Innovation Officer at InsightKids, highlighted that teenagers spend an average of 218 minutes a day watching television, 169 minutes online, 128 minutes using mobile phones and 57 minutes playing games. 113 minutes are spent on books, magazines and other forms of media, for a total of 8 hours and 19 minutes of media consumption a day.  And that doesn’t even include non-media tasks they are performing, such as eating, driving, shopping, hanging out with friends, going to classes and maybe even doing a little homework.  How do they have time to do all this?  Simple, they do the majority of these things at the same time.

With the economy forcing many companies to cut back workforces, time management has now become an essential skill in the workplace. Think about your workload.  Is it more demanding than is was a few years back? Chances are the answer is yes.  If so, how do you deal with it?  My suggestion, learn to multitask. You may think you already do this…but do you do it well?  The key is organization and prioritization.  You have to know which tasks demand your full attention, and which are less demanding ones or ones with down time that allow you to deal with others at the same time.

Think of learning to multitask well as job survival, because there are millions of teenagers who are experts at it who will be in the workforce soon.