Monday, May 02, 2005

Overcoming the Dangers of Task Saturation

When business leaders take the same steps before each mission, they can improve their execution results as well. However, even preparation and planning cannot eliminate the biggest stumbling block to flawless execution: task saturation.

Task saturation comes from not having enough time, tools and resources to get your mission accomplished. Essentially, it means you are overworked. Unfortunately, most people and companies wear task saturation like a badge of honor. Perhaps it makes them feel wanted or valuable.

You may hear a weary business traveler at the airport say, "I've been on the road for five days, made nine presentations, wrote up specifications for a new bid in the hotel room, missed lunch, went into the office Saturday, got caught up on my paperwork, and now I'm heading to New York." The surprising thing is that most people are proud that they're overworked. In truth, task saturation is not good for the company. It can effect all your operations and create irreparable mistakes.

What fighter pilots know about task saturation should worry every business manager and safety manager. As task saturation increases, performance decreases and execution errors increase. Task saturation is a silent killer, and in these days of layoffs and asking people to do more with less, task saturation is a major threat to corporate America. Rather than wear it like a badge of honor, businesses need to deal with it now. The correct action to take is to acknowledge that it exists, acknowledge that it creates problems, identify the symptoms, and then work to eliminate it. (Via Occupational Hazards)

Fighter Plane - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

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