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Come closer.. I have a secret to tell you based on an experience last week.
As someone who prides herself on her ability to multitask, truth be told, I’m just not that good at it. Well, I mean I get stuff done, the question is how well?
Buff (my husband of nearly 20 years) and the dude at the Apple Genius Bar both made the same point. I had taken my laptop in because it seemed sluggish and I was getting the dreaded beach ball of death (you Mac users know what I’m talking about).
The guy looked at me and asked a couple of really simple questions; did my desktop always have that many icons on it? Do I usually have all these tabs/windows open while working? Did I ever shut my computer down? You know the standard stuff.
Yes, there are always that many icons on my desktop. Yes, I usually have that many windows open at the same time. No, I never shut it down.
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Like my sluggish computer, even I cannot do my best work with a whole bunch of windows open in my life and I’m not talking about the good kind. These are not opportunities as much as they are distractions.
For example, I’ll typically work tabs of all manner of social media open, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Even if they’re closed, I have a mail program that alerts me when I get pinged. So my laptop is making more noise than Vegas casino only I’m getting a diminished return on my investment. My smart phone, also nearby, chimes in solidarity.
But it’s not just the hardware, it’s the software too; it’s not just what’s open, but the content too, that sometimes drags me down. There are a shocking number of negative people in my social media life and when they spew their stuff, sometimes I feel compelled to comment (yes, that is MY problem…), further taking my eye off the ball.
Buff is very fond of saying to me, “Rene, you have a fixed amount of energy every day. Is this how you want to spend it?”
And he’s right, you know. The larger issue is not how I want to spend my time but how I need to if I plan to be a success.
Successfully managing all the aspects of my life means I’m going to have to take a hardline against multitasking, which enables me to do a whole lot of things but not any one of them particularly well.
I’m going to start with a suggestion someone gave on LinkedIn: turn off your phone for 3 hours every day.
Whoa.. that’s a lot to ask.
Or is it?
What about you? Can you multitask well or are you doing a whole bunch of things and none of them very well?