Monday, May 25, 2009
Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put an elephant in my office and I wouldn't look up. Well, maybe once.
Are you finding that in today's world there are so many things coming at us from all directions that we try to do it all. We have even developed a term for ability to handle all our tasks at the same time, "Multi Tasking." We like to show off and are even proud of how many things we can handle at the same time.
Did you know in truth, there's no such thing as multi tasking. There's only doing a lot of things not well. As Publilus Syrus put it, "To do two things at once is to do neither." It doesn't matter how many languages you may know, you can't speak two at the same exact time. Mixing up two languages in the same sentence will not make any sense at all.
No matter how many things you try to do at the same time you can only do one at any given moment, so what you are really doing is bits and pieces but nothing complete. Multi tasking means you are not doing anything to your best ability. As you constantly switch channels you lose focus on what we really need to get done. You increase your stress levels and you end up making more mistakes.
You wouldn't want a surgeon checking email, text messaging or doing anything else during surgery. You want that surgeon focused on the task at hand. We all have many tasks to complete throughout our day. However, the most productive execution of these tasks is focusing on one task at a time, multiple times. We have lost our ability to focus. We are not only always being distracted, but we are searching for distractions. While in the middle of one task, we stop to check our email, send a text, watch a video, etc. We're searching for other things to do because we cannot maintain our focus.
No matter how much you think you can handle multiple tasks at the same time, you cannot. As you switch back and forth it takes time for your brain to get back in sync with your original task. We lose time and it affects the quality of our work. We need to relearn how to focus. At first it might seem very difficult. It is like any training, you have to work at it and then you can go further and further. At first you can only run one mile a day, then one day you can run a marathon. Right now you might only be able to maintain focus for thirty minutes, but before long you will be able to focus for two or three hours.
Spend time focused on one goal or task at a time. As you're working on that goal do not drift off in to the future. Work in the now and do not get overwhelmed by the size of anything you have to do. Stay positive about what you are doing. When you start to look at the size of the task or get negative you will tend to look for distractions. Don't allow temptations to distract you. If your goal is to lose weight then eating a piece of chocolate cake is not what you want to do. Sure it is tempting and you want to taste the cake, but if you do you won't achieve your goal. Don't check email, text message, listen voice mail or allow any other distraction when trying to complete a task. These are just pieces of chocolate cake trying to tempt you from focusing on your goal.
Strive not only just to accomplish more, but doing less with higher quality results. Become a single task oriented person who completes multiple tasks by learned focus.
My father always said things done by halves are never done right!