Conviction of a Multitasker

albert-einstein-401484_640My husband has recently become enamored with some of the wit of Albert Einstein. One of the quotes he’s shared with me is “A man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is not giving enough attention to the kiss.”

Who knew Albert was such a funster?

Still, I have to laugh at myself. For I am an unreformed multi-tasker. I’ve been wondering why I’m not making better progress. I think it’s because I’m multi-tasking too much and not giving each project the attention it deserves.

In our world of multi-tasking it’s easy to try to do two things at once. After all, who doesn’t want to be efficient? We all only have 24 hours in a day, so use them wisely and well. That’s what many of us we live by.

Life itself has a way of interrupting our plans. Last month I had to take time out to renew my driver’s license. Next week, we have an election. And it’s open enrollment time for health benefits. Then I need to start thinking about Christmas.

How I long to be able to have only one thing in my list!

On the other hand, I thrive on the variety.

If you’re like me, you find it easy to cater to a short attention span by doing more than one thing at a time. That way boredom doesn’t sink in.

Heaven help us if we ever have a moment of boredom.

This double obsession with efficiency and constant stimulation takes its toll. It’s so easy to become distracted and give only a piece of our attention to the path we are on, side tracked by a shiny new object ahead.

The old, now boring task gets neglected.

And therein lies the rub.

Just when the work gets a little difficult, we drop it.

No one ever get better at anything by giving up with the going got tough.

The other thing is we need the boredom. I read an article that said the worst things parents can do is constantly entertain their children. It’s when the children become bored that they use their creativity to entertain themselves.

So it is with us. When we are bored with a task, that’s precisely when we’re most likely to get creative with it, if for no other reason than to stop the boredom.

There’s an old story a time management expert told about teaching his kids to make a game out of irksome chores. Tired of washing dishes? Pretend you’re in a prison camp, having to clean up for your jailers. Or see how long it takes you to wash with your left hand versus your right.

But whatever you do, focus on the task at hand. Give it the attention it deserves. (Hint: just about all.) You’ll get it done faster, will enjoy the process more, and will feel less stressed out because your mind hasn’t been pulled in six directions at once.

So I’ve given myself this pep talk. I’m convicted. I need to reform.

But how?

Attack my to-do list?

Revise my list, to focus on one project at a time?

What do you think I should do?





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