Reflection: It never seems to go away. This idea that our lives are so much better when we jam twice as many tasks into every minute and hour of the day.
Just last week, an article in the Globe and Mail proposed saving up to 20 hours a week by doubletasking instead of multitasking. Isn’t double is just a subset of multi?
The suggestions in the article? Catch up on email or social media while you watch TV or a movie. Study while you shave or shower. Listen to a podcast or watch a video while you exercise.
I must admit I’ve experimented with these combos myself. Just last month I took myself and a podcast for a walk along the river. I soon discovered that as soon as I tuned in the audio, I tuned out myself, nature, and the world around me. Instead of returning from the walk refreshed and relaxed, I had simply gone through the motions while someone else’s words rolled through my brain. The net result: a distracted splintered experience.
Here’s what we miss when we take this doubleheader multitasking approach. Breathing space, for one. Connection, for two. Creativity, for three.
One of the reasons we have original thoughts in the shower, for instance, is precisely because we’re not driving the ‘must think up something new’ bus while we’re cleaning up. We just engage in one task, the mind wanders at will, and surprises us – or rewards us – with original thought! That’s something that can’t be forced, but can be encouraged when we leave space for it in our lives.
Action: Yes, there are times when we can do more than two things at the same time. But let’s resist giving ourselves or others carte blanche to cram an unlimited number of activities into our already crowded days.
Be vigilant and thoughtful about your choice of combos, And know for sure that breathing space is a legitimate partner for many of your actions.
Quotes Of The Week: We are the generation capable of doing many things at once, without enjoying any of them. – Dinesh Kumar Biran
I want to lengthen, not shorten, my attention span, and most of the material splendors of the twenty-first century bully me in the opposite direction. – Phillip Connors
Resource Of The Week: Here’s the link to the article that prompted today’s message: Five Simple Ways To Save Yourself Up To 20 Hours A Week. Give it a read and let me know what YOU think.
Readers Write: In response to the message, What’s Waiting For You, Pause reader LH writes: I let things go at work every day. The busy things are just that and often they are not important. I use the old fable ‘Chicken Little’ as a guide. How often at work is the sky falling in? People are running around for the sake of running around and looking important and busy. I try to avoid this institutional trap every day.
An Invitation: I’m eager to extend the impact of Pause, and would appreciate your help in growing the list of subscribers. Would you please take a moment and think of others who might value these messages?
Pick one of your favorite past Pauses (I know many of you file them away), and forward it along with your personal invitation to subscribe.
Let me know when you extended your invitations. I’ll drop your name into the draw for a bundle of Pause goodies at the end of the month. Many thanks for your help in spreading the word.