I hear often about how busy people are at their job, regardless of their level in the organization or even if their job is housewife/husband. But when I look into their daily activities and schedule, I see so many opportunities for improvement. Missing or ineffective processes, systems, or just simple dedication to the task at hand. Myself included in that statement.
Right now, right here, I am going to dismantle one of the things I worked hard to cultivate within myself. Multi-tasking.
Multi-tasking, is a myth. And let me tell you, when I learned it was a myth, it almost crushed me. I thought I was the queen of multi-tasking. It was one of my great strengths. In fact, an ex-boyfriend once marveled that I could drive my manual car (aka stick shift), while eating a hamburger, changing the CD in the dashboard, getting the other CD back into it’s own case, and smoking a cigarette. It was my 20s and I was invincible. Had there been cell phones like we have now, I probably would have been tweeting and updating my Facebook all while posting pictures of it to Instagram and a video to Vine.
Seriously folks… is this ability actually something to be proud of?
Not only is all of that dangerous and stupid. None of it was done well. And while that scenario seems extreme, isn’t that how many folks go through their day? Let’s put the same situation into modern day work environment:
You are working on a deliverable that is due at the end of the day TODAY, while your company email is popping up in the corner with the little email icon, and the sneak peek, and the ‘ping’ that a mail has arrived. The phone is ringing and you are answering it. Your cell phone is pinging and dinging as your friends try to coordinate tonight’s festivities.
How’s that deliverable coming? How long would it take you to finish the work if you were just left alone for five minutes?
Know who controls that?
I know, I know. I hear all.the.time. From people saying they ‘have to’ take this call or that call or that they’ve been waiting for some email response, or or or.
People! Stop making excuses. Take control of it. Your life. It really is YOUR life.
Right, right, right… I hear you … you might lose your job if your don’t respond to the email right away. Or … you may not. I will bet on the “may not.”
Turn off your phone and email, complete the task, then check back. Expecting updates while you work? Notify the people working with you that they need to have them to you by a certain time, from there on you need to focus. Communicate, set expectations.
That’s an example from a work environment, how about at home? I know at my house the environment used to be TV on in the living room, kid on the iPad, laptop in the kitchen with me, Facebook up and running, all while I was cooking dinner. The third time I overcooked the meat in less than a month was the time to turn it all off.
I will be honest, it is a work in progress. The kid often still has the TV on and I may have an audio book playing. But my goal before the end of THIS month is to get the kid in the kitchen with me, cooking and learning and dialoguing while dinner is being made. Eating together with just some quiet music, peaceful. And then, if there is time, maybe a TV show, short movie, puzzle race, or game night together. I have the alternate nights when he is with his father to work on work, read, write, socials, whatever throughout the night.
I recently heard an acronym that has apparently been going around for awhile. While I was training to multi-task, Robert Kiyosaki was teaching F.O.C.U.S. (Follow One Course Until Successful.)
This will be the path I follow this year. Whether that means reading one book at a time, all the way through, rather than being on Chapters 2, 5, and 8 of three different books, or it means completing one course before purchasing another, or developing one product line, or working one work project… One.
We’ve been fooled into thinking that multi-tasking allows us to achieve peace. Here’s a secret, it doesn’t.
I want an intentional, conscious life. I want to be a part of my life. I want my life to be more simple. I want to enjoy the time with my kiddo before he is off and running with his friends, before he begins to date, before he goes to college. Now is that time and there isn’t much of it left.
I want time with my friends to be full of lively conversation, not “uh huh” and “hmmm” over our phones. Conversation. I am an animated, hand waving maniac…. I don’t think many people have gotten to see that side of me lately.
Recently, I began a new practice, today I am asking you to join me.
Be present in the moment.
Don’t have your mind off and wandering. Keep a notepad near you. Suddenly remember you forgot to make an important call today? Jot yourself a note. Run out of milk? Jot it on the notepad. Create a system, one that works for you. Get those notes into it. I’ll talk more about systems in future posts. Don’t wait for me, though – get started now.
What will your F.O.C.U.S. on this week? Drop a note in the comments and share it.