I hate, hate, hate the term ‘multitasking’. I can’t tell you why I hate it – it just doesn’t sit well with me. When someone tells me that they are multitasking – I get the impression that they aren’t really paying 100% attention to one particular task – – but, rather, some attention to several tasks. If that person happens to be performing a task for me – I feel like my task is maybe getting 60-80% of their attention, instead of 100%. If I’m a client who has paid this person to perform this task – then I get increasingly irked because if I paid for it, then I want 100% of your attention. Am I wrong here?
That being said – I multitask. Who doesn’t, really? Can we really get anything done in a day without some of our attentions spread out across several areas?
I do more than multitask, however – and here is where I think that perhaps some of you have some advice that could help me. Maybe some of you have the same issue and have found ways that help you deal with the problem – and you are neighborly enough to share your wisdom with me. It’s the change season, after all, isn’t it? Time for a change. Ready for a change. That kind of thing? Well, I’m all about recognizing some of my more troublesome character traits and habits and trying to change.
Here’s the deal – yes, I multitask. More than that – I get distracted very easily. Not in ways you would think. Social media outlets like Twitter, Plurk, Facebook and the like don’t distract me much at all. I love using those tools – and wish I had the time to use them more! But I do know where my priorities are – so if you see me Twittering – it’s because I have a moment in the day where I’m taking a coffee break or just taking 5 minutes between projects to take a breath. I’m the same with email. If I have shit to do and I have a deadline – I shut down my email program for an hour or two. I’m always good about turning it back on and checking in – but I find email to be incredibly distracting when I have shit to do. So, I schedule email breaks, coffee breaks, lunch breaks – – I try to be judicial with my time as much as possible.
But, I still get distracted – and it doesn’t take much! Here’s a perfect scenario….
I’m working on a client site project. I’m either designing or coding their site and it needs to get done …. yesterday. I’m trying hard to accommodate. I’m really rocking and rolling and making progress and the time comes that I need to upload several files to my test bed in order to continue working on their project. Great, right? I’m moving right along! In the time it takes to upload those files – – we’re talking MINUTES here, people..minutes – – I’m waiting for the files to upload and decide to flip over to my browser window and have a look at the notes from another clients project. I do this because my mind needs to be occupied with something other than
watching water boil waiting for the files to upload. Plus – I say to myself – if I can take a minute to look over notes for the next project I need to work on – – I can have it in the back of my mind to start prioritizing tasks and time for that project.
Minutes, I say! That file upload took all of 2.5 minutes – – and in that span of time, I’m checking notes for the other project and happen to notice a question that client had, or a file that I need to go find and download…. or a development piece that I need to research in order to determine the best way to help this client meet their goals.
Instead of returning to my file upload, now that its finished, and proceeding along with my project – – I’m not off on the net researching, downloading, responding to the other client project and before I know it an HOUR has gone by, and I’m back to feeling stressed and pressured because I’ve now let an hour go by on my other project.
Perhaps I spread myself too thin and need to revisit the word “No” ? Or maybe I have a true ADD situation going over here. I mean, I can’t be the only one who finds 2.5 minutes of file uploads a complete bore, can I?? To the point of absolutely HAVING to fill my brain with something else in those 2.5 minutes because I cannot POSSIBLY be idle for that amount of time (god forbid!).
Its not that I don’t get anything done. Quite the contrary – I get an amazing amount of stuff done in a day, if I do say so myself. It just seems a little chaotic sometimes and I think I need an intervention! lol Plus, I’m pretty decent with organization — I would give myself an A- in that area…. although, at times, I do fall a bit behind due to distractions, such as I’ve mentioned.
I have Lindsey – my assistant, whom I absolutely adore! She helps keep me organized and on task, as much as she possibly can. I would bet that girl sits over there in her office and just shakes her head at me – wondering WHAT she could do to help…and I know I don’t pay her enough to put up with me, sometimes – – but she is wonderful and I’m almost…. almost hopeless – but not totally!
I do what I can to manage and organize my time, and yet some days I still feel chaotic. Not everyday — but the days that it does happen can be pretty stressful. So. . .
- Time management practices – what helps you?
- Time tracking tools – think it would help if I tracked my time and kept a ‘time diary’ to help me understand where my weaknesses are?
- Do you have issues with distraction? Have you found methods that help you out in that area?
This week – I think I’m being pretty hard on myself, actually. We were gone for 10 days and upon return, I became very ill with a bad case of bronchitis, our pet died, my father had major surgery and was hospitalized for a week — this week has been one of catch up, fall behind, catch up, fall behind, catch up! So, maybe I’m being more hard on myself this week than I should be – – though, I do recognize a pattern of behavior with the distraction thing – – its not new to me, and I’m lookin to fix it, using whatever tools available – physical, mental or metaphysical 🙂
Have a suggestion?? I’m all ears!