Multi-tasking can make you dumb
Years ago, I had a coworker who had taped an article by that title on the outside of the door of his office. I think he was making a point to management. Initially I laughed. But thinking about it now, I realize that my friend had a point.
Have you ever worked on a major project? How about, for example putting together a wedding? Who would imagine so many details were involved in putting together an event lasting less than a day? When things really start to roll, it can become difficult to know what to do next. I can remember more than once on different projects I was handling over the years, getting to that dreaded point where paralysis set in.
Years ago, my husband gave me a book, that I look at from time to time to help me in moments like this—Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson, Ph.D.
In his book in the chapter, Do One Thing at a Time, Carlson said, when you do too many things at once, it’s impossible to be present moment oriented. Thus, you not only lose out on much of the potential enjoyment of what you are doing, but you also become far less focused and effective.
His antidote for this problem is to block out periods of time where you do nothing but a pre-decided task. I would recommend turning off the ringer on your cell phone and letting people know in advance that this time block you will be indisposed.
Another remedy that I find helpful is to map out all that you need to do over the next days, weeks and months. Get it all out on paper. Once you know what you need to do, assign dates for completion. The things that take the longest begin early enough. Every task gets assigned a day to work on and a deadline for completion. Then put that chart somewhere easy to see. As you complete things, check them off.
It is surprising how manageable and peaceful that project can become when you don’t have to carry it in your brain. With the extra room in your head you can do the research, talk to people and think on your feet, while implementing your plan.
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