Written by Justine Eden
My life is busy – but as it is for most of us. I always seem to be chasing that elusive extra 10 minutes in the day, the extra time that would make a difference between being on time or being late – again.
I’m at my best when I’m flat out – yes I can be a stress head perfectionist, but put under pressure – I perform at my best. I’ve always rated my ability to multitask and smirked at those of the opposite sex who appear incapable of multitasking.
I remember talking with a good friend of mine – an executive coach who drives performance through self improvement – who stated point blank that multitasking was ineffective.
He went on to say that you were better off focusing on one thing at a time and doing it right before attempting to move onto what you have to do next. I smiled and nodded at the time and thought – “no wonder you say that – you are a man and therefore unable to multitask anyway”…
But the other night as I listened to my daughter practice her mandarin for an upcoming language contest, and started preparing dinner – at the same time a call came through from a client – which of course I accepted…. We spoke for around 10 minutes and when I turned around the house was full of smoke from the pan heating on the element filled with olive oil, which I had totally forgotten about.
It struck me at that point how I hadn’t really been fully focused on any one thing and probably had my attention spread across 4-5 different things at the same time. How effective was I really? How effective is multitasking ? I had the mantra of do it once and do it right drilled into me from birth, but the pace of life had made multitasking seem like the only way of possibly getting everything done.
I don’t think this “old dog” will totally learn new tricks. The adrenalin rush of getting it all done keeps me on the edge, but I am focusing on being in the moment and present. Meditation is top of my list of things to start and keep doing. Making notes keeps me on track and means I stress less about forgetting something. Paying full attention to the person in front of me – rather than letting my mind wander across all of the things I need to do is something I am practicing hard at.
Old habits are hard to change – but the wake up call was an opportunity for me to reassess……..