I was scrolling through my Twitter stream a couple of days ago and I saw the following phrase:

Why bosses should beware of pasta and peanut butter.

But then I got distracted and never had the opportunity to click through to see what it meant.

Until now.

According to The Corner Office at BNET, it has the following meaning:

If you’re looking to destroy your company, try adopting a “peanut butter” approach, spreading your resources thinly across every available surface. If your company survives that, try a “pasta” strategy, in which you fling money and resources around at random to see what sticks.

If you’re like me, you’ve likely employed both of these “strategies.” But the “peanut butter” approach really has me thinking, especially in this economy where we’re all doing more with less.

We live in a real-time, instant world where, if you’re not multi-tasking – or spreading your resources thinly across every available surface – you’re perceived as one who can’t manage everything.

But is the human brain equipped to cope with more than one thing at a time?

If you’re on a conference call or webinar, for example, how many of you will also check email, text a family member, or instant message a colleague? When you do that, how much of the call are you missing? I’d venture to guess most of it.

Test a theory for me.

Choose a challenging task that needs to be accomplished the next day. Block out 60-90 minutes to at least get it started, if not complete it. Close email. Turn off Skype and instant messaging. Put your email in offline mode. Turn off every alert you get for your social networks. Set the timer for your allotted time and get to work.

I’m willing to bet good money you’re much more productive working this way. If it works, determine the top five things you need to accomplish each day, set your timer, and get to work.

Soon you’ll be leaving the office earlier and people will wonder how it is that you’re able to be so productive.

This first ran as my weekly column in Crain’s.¬†

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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