Lori Milner says CFOs should practise doing one thing at a time

During a Community Conversation, Lori explained that multitasking can cause mental fatigue.

On 18 November, CFO South Africa hosted another edition of its CFO Community Conversations with Beyond the Dress founder Lori Milner giving attendees advice on how to avoid Zoom and mental fatigue through self-management and self-care.

“What has been the catalyst for this discussion is, because we’ve lost impromptu conversations and every conversation has become a formal conversation, we’re in front of our laptops from 8am until 5pm – and sometimes even longer,” she said.

For this reason, she explained that meetings have increased and that they’re not going away anytime soon in the new world of work that Covid-19 has brought on. “We need to create the right rituals and habits to make sure the meetings are as productive as it can be.”

One of these habits we should learn is to practise doing one thing at a time. She said that, when you sit down to do a task, you need to give yourself full permission to do it. “When you are in a Zoom meeting, many people try to do some other tasks at the same time. Instead of focusing on one thing, your mind is trying to focus on two things, which is causing you mental fatigue.”

Setting your intention
Meetings can take up your entire day if you’re not careful. However, Lori said that CFOs shouldn’t be setting 60 minute meetings for something that can be discussed in 25 minutes. “The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing,” she quoted author Steven Covey.

She explained that it’s also important to set your intention before the meeting. “You need to know what you are there to do and how you are going to add value. If you’ve got a long exco meeting, appoint a CEO (chief energy officer). After 50 minutes of the meeting, the ‘CEO’ needs to encourage people to get up and take a break so they don’t get fatigued.”

She also advised the CFOs to give themselves a 15-minute break in between meetings. “You need that time to think about what happened in the previous meeting.”

Meetings with yourself
“The most important meetings that need to be in your diary are the meetings with yourself,” Lori said. She asked the attendees in the room how much time they allocate to think and strategise. “Bill Gates takes two weeks and he calls them ‘think weeks’.”

She urged the CFOs to block out times in their diaries to allocate to themselves.

Then, she opened up for a livery discussion with the CFOs in attendance talking about their self care and where they can improve on it.

[more to follow]