Saturday, February 9, 2008

Multitasking--to do or not?

When it is like this outside, it's time to stay inside and get things done.

Getting things done, always desirable and yet sometimes elusive. And getting a lot done, even more desirable. So, is multitasking a viable way to get it all done?

No question that we exist in a multitasking culture that adds tasks every hour of every day. Now the norm is to e-mail while talking on your cell phone while eating a breakfast bar while, etc. etc. New studies have shown that this can be an effective way to get things done--especially if you are young enough to be raised with computer literacy.

But it begs the question: what gets done? A lot of small tasks. What about the major ones? Writing a novel? Having an oeuvre of paintings? A portfolio of photographs? How to balance the myriad necessary tasks and still focus on the major work?

And as creative people, it's easy for us to come up with multiple major projects--but that's another problem for another post.

One tip: do the major work first and set a daily intention (this many pages/words or this much time focused) to work on the major work. No multi-tasking until afterwards.

Next post, another useful tip. But first, readers are you able to multi-task effectively? And still achieve movement on what matters? If so, how? If not, what are your particular pitfalls? Stumbling blocks? Walls?


The Muse said...

Multitasking is pretty much my life. Over the years I've gotten good at it, to some respect, in household tasks.

You're right about getting the big jobs done first.

Forget it with my writing, for that you need that focus you mention.

Suzanne Lieurance said...

I think Multitasking is a way of life for most everyone these days. But the sad thing is it doesn't allow us to "live in the moment."

That's why I LOVE writing.

I have to be totally focused on JUST the writing! And when I get so focused, I start enjoying every moment.

Nice post!

Suzanne Lieurance
The Working Writer's Coach
"When Your Pen Won't Budge, Read The Morning Nudge"

Kathy McIntosh said...

In my training on handling stress, I talk about multi-tasking: we can do the little ones, as you say, at the same time...the tasks such as ironing that we do by rote. Some folks can even watch TV and sort the mail. But, as you and Suzanne point out, writing requires total focus.
Good post: I'll try to set my intentions as you advise.

Cornish Dreamer said...

I multitask much of the time: this morning I wrote my blog while eating breakfast and then while I talked to my Mum on the phone.
Then I tried to write at the same time as birdwatching this morning but it was a little cramped under my 'hide' and I got distracted when the cats jumped on top of me.

I think you're right: it's only the little things that get done and never the important ones.

A very useful tip!

Conda Douglas said...

Thanks Muse, for reiterating how we need focus for the main creative stuff.

And suzanne, you have a great site which every writer should visit often.

Kathy, intention often gets the job done!

And thanks, Rebecca, for your great illustration of multi-tasking! And your kind words.