Multi-tasking vs scattered energy


Share this :   | | | |

Feel at the end of your rope? A popular saying will tell you to tie another knot and hang on.

But I’ll tell you:  take a few minutes and examine that rope of yours.  Maybe it’s about to snap.

Too often, we pile on more work day after day, accepting new projects (because who else will do it if you don’t), adding more to your To Do list and trying desperately to keep everything running smoothly.

If you are in business for yourself or working more than one job to make ends meet, you know what the result of all this multi-tasking is:  STRESS!

What can you do? Isn’t everybody stressed out these days? Doesn’t it come with the territory in our society?

Multi-tasking has its place. But I think it’s also got inherent problems if you overuse it.

DO’s

  • catch up on email and minor tasks while watching TV
  • put away groceries, fold laundry or cook dinner while chatting on the phone with a friend
  • brush your teeth while internally saying your morning prayer or meditation
  • backup important files while you are working at your desk on mid-level tasks like bill-paying, working in your word processor, etc.
  • clean house while listening to an MP3 seminar or personal growth recording

DON’T’s

  • Work on an important project while interrupting your concentration every few minutes to check email, answer the phone, open the mail, start that other project that was due last week
  • Have a heavy-duty conversation with business associate or loved one while typing emails, blogging, Tweeting, checking out your Facebook account and the like
  • Start and stop half a dozen time-consuming projects because you get started on one, only to decide to work on another one you think will take less time (result: nothing gets done)

You can readily see the difference. DO multi-task when you can take care of low-level items at the same time.  DON’T multi-task when you have important work to do (including conversations that have a critical outcome) that other things will distract you from.  Learn to put all your attention into the heavy-duty stuff on your list — do it, and get it done. Then move on to the next.

What I find helps a lot is to find that balance. Do a heavy duty project to get it out of the way. Then “reward” yourself with 15 minutes for catching up on email and social media, before you tackle your next project that requires your full attention.  Trying to multi-task all the time, all day, every day, simply leads to burn out.  Plus the quality of your work suffers.

Happy Labor Day to my readers in the USA!

your happiness guru,

Evelyn Brooks

PS Did you go to http://gethappytoday.com yet? Please do – my happiness book launch is 9/11

Comments (8)

Jim Adlhoch

September 6, 2010

In my corporate position, I am often required to multi-task. Using Instant Messaging online while taking a many person conference call in my office while answering email at the same time (with my phone muted to hide the sound of keyboard clicks). When meeting with someone in my office, the first agenda item is always to turn off my monitor and turn it away; next my cell phone placed in a desk drawer; last is my phone forwarded to voicemail. This all takes less than 30 seconds to do, but in a multi-tasking world it not only removes all temptation to have to know everything "right now" from an IM or email, but communicates to the person I am meeting with they are the focus of my attention and their time and effort are more important. If there is an emergency, someone can come to my office, but never once has that happened.

I am not perfect, I am sending this laying on the couch with an iPad, catching up on shows I recorded earlier in the week on television, watching video clips of my classes on a laptop, and assuaging a disgruntled macaw who thinks HE should be the sole focus of my attention, and creating a mental list of what I need to accomplish in my glass studio today. Lots of labor on this Labor Day! :-)

Jim Adlhoch

September 6, 2010

In my corporate position, I am often required to multi-task. Using Instant Messaging online while taking a many person conference call in my office while answering email at the same time (with my phone muted to hide the sound of keyboard clicks). When meeting with someone in my office, the first agenda item is always to turn off my monitor and turn it away; next my cell phone placed in a desk drawer; last is my phone forwarded to voicemail. This all takes less than 30 seconds to do, but in a multi-tasking world it not only removes all temptation to have to know everything "right now" from an IM or email, but communicates to the person I am meeting with they are the focus of my attention and their time and effort are more important. If there is an emergency, someone can come to my office, but never once has that happened.

I am not perfect, I am sending this laying on the couch with an iPad, catching up on shows I recorded earlier in the week on television, watching video clips of my classes on a laptop, and assuaging a disgruntled macaw who thinks HE should be the sole focus of my attention, and creating a mental list of what I need to accomplish in my glass studio today. Lots of labor on this Labor Day! :-)

Irene

September 6, 2010

Hi Evelyn,

I totally agree with you. I think we have so much stress with multi-tasking, that it would be a relief to not be multi-tasking for even a day or so.

I love your blog. Keep up the good work.

Irene

Irene

September 6, 2010

Hi Evelyn,

I totally agree with you. I think we have so much stress with multi-tasking, that it would be a relief to not be multi-tasking for even a day or so.

I love your blog. Keep up the good work.

Irene

Evelyn Brooks

September 7, 2010

Great reply! Looks like you do have a handle on when it is appropriate to put other things aside and devote full attention to, for example, the person in your office. I'm glad your macaw does let you watch TV!

Evelyn Brooks

September 7, 2010

Great reply! Looks like you do have a handle on when it is appropriate to put other things aside and devote full attention to, for example, the person in your office. I'm glad your macaw does let you watch TV!

Evelyn Brooks

September 7, 2010

Thanks Irene, you too!

Evelyn Brooks

September 7, 2010

Thanks Irene, you too!

Leave a reply