Focused Work

With as much as I’ve got on my plate these days, I’m always looking for ways to get more done, quicker, etc.

Sometimes, under certain circumstances, I am tempted down dark paths.

I’m talking about Multitasking.

You know what I’m talking about: You do a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a little bit over here and, before you know it, you’ve got your “To Do” list crying for mercy.

Or maybe it’s laughing so hard, it’s crying…

Let me tell you something:

There are only a few places where multitasking really works:

Long-term cooking projects.

Running the dishwasher

Washing or drying the laundry.

Even then, you’re getting by on a technicality. You can’t really do multiple tasks at the same time and expect to make any progress on either task.

That doesn’t mean that the temptation isn’t there, especially nowadays when there’s so much pressure to produce, so many things the need doing, and so many things that I want to get done.

That’s not including figuring out where to fit down-time- which you *do* need.

In the face of that, who wouldn’t want a magic bullet that’ll shoot down multiple tasks at once.

But it never works.

What I’m trying to do is develop the discipline to simply take one task at a time. This includes (and this is the part that’s really hard for me) saying “No,” or “Not today,” or “Not right now,” to things that want to inject themselves into an already busy day.

Now there’s going to be times where you won’t be able to avoid that, and you’ve got to prioritize and focus.

Take a task and work on it to the exclusion of everything else for a solid block of time. Unless I’m going into a task knowing that I’m going to be committing a larger block of time, I like to start working with 15 minute blocks.

For me, this is surprisingly harder than it sounds, especially with a pile of things that are all needing attention.

That’s why this post is going live much later than I’d envisioned earlier in the week. I can get overwhelmed in the face of everything on the task list. My focus scatters and, like this morning, I typed up a few lines of this post, saved the draft, and went off to do something else “for a bit…”

This is a work in progress for me. So much so that, even as I realize that I’m getting close to the end of this post, my mind is wanting to go off to the next task, and I’ve got to reel it in, stay focused until I’m done.

See you on Thursday!


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Weird Wild West


Chasing the Light