Thursday, March 15, 2012

Concentrating on one thing at a time.

Multi-tasking is something that I have been pushed into doing. I don’t like to admit that anything or anybody has made me take up a bad habit, and believe me, it is a bad habit, but in this case it can be blamed on an outside influence. It is obviously not any one particular person but society, technology, and particularly, the working environment. The thing is, when it comes down to it, we are not built for multi-tasking. Don’t get me wrong – it does work, but only with extremely simple tasks, usually physical, that don’t take that much concentration like, switching off the oven whilst stirring a sauce that you’ve got simmering on the cooker hob. Anything more involved that that, by that I mean anything requiring actual thought, just forget it. If you feel like you are achieving more by chatting in a Facebook IM whilst working on a client proposal and surfing the web you are basically doing three things badly, instead of one thing well. It really is as simple as that. The human brain may be dealt up into distinct and individual parts but consciousness is a laser-like stream. It pinpoints, assesses and acts. Multi-tasking for us poor, simple humans is basically more like moving extremely quickly between multiple tasks than it is, for example, with a multi-threaded processor in a computer which can truly multi-task. It’s a misnomer, at least when applied to people. Looking at it from a practical standpoint, multi-tasking is not going to get you to your goals, get you home early from work or enable you to cram more into your day. All it does is leave you with incomplete projects, best case scenario, or, at the worst, badly formed or damaged projects and ideas. One of the greatest tools on my PC desktop is a little free application called Focus Booster (basically a software tool to help implement the pomodoro technique. If you haven’t looked into that technique before then I thoroughly recommend you do so – it’s all about strategically taking control of your time, not through trying to get more done, but by increasing your concentration and focus on the things that you need to get done. If you’re going to get anything done, and done well, you’re going to return to doing it one thing at a time.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree Nathan - focus on becoming great at what you're good at - by doing the right things!