Ahhh yes, multi-tasking – the esteemed strategy of the over-whelmed, over worked, and broke.
Yup – it’s true. I know from personal experience. Go ahead and react if you want. But honestly evaluate your results from multi-tasking before you choose to do it – or not.
Ever experience this?
You’re talking to someone on the phone, you can hear the clickety-clack of their keyboard, and then they ask you to repeat what you’ve just said?
Or, you’re explaining something important to your life-partner, he/she is facing you, nodding, but you can see their eyes are focussed on something else (the TV screen or a magazine)?
Or, you’re doing 3 or 4 tasks at the same time, the phone rings, you answer it as you head to the bathroom, and agree to send some information to them within the next few minutes?
That’s multi-tasking. It destroys trust, which is the most foundational component of a relationship.
I’ve interviewed thousands of people who have indicated that multi-tasking is directly related to feeling rushed, anxious, and stressed. Does it affect you that way? These emotions negatively affect self-esteem, which is trust in your most important relationship – the one with self.
Here’s my perspective and some tips to say, “No” to multi-tasking. Whether you agree or not, I’d love to hear your perspective. Please send me a note.
Tips to build trust:
1. Make a list, before you go to bed tonight, of the prioritized tasks you will do tomorrow. Use a high-tech piece of paper and a pen, so you won’t be distracted by fonts, formats, text messages, or other bells ‘n whistles. Besides work, include self-full tasks such as exercise, family time, healthy meals, meditation, and reading. This pre-planning gets the brain engaged and working at an unconscious level, even before the tasks begin. Plan for success by listing no more than what you know you can easily do.
2. When the day begins, focus on one task at a time. Be totally present and intentional and notice the feelings of accomplishment as you knock tasks off your list – trust increases.
3. Allow the phone to take messages and the inbox to fill. If you are expecting a call and the phone rings, mentally stop your current task and give your total attention to the caller. Ask clarifying questions, listen carefully, and respond thoughtfully – trust increases.
4. Check and respond to phone messages and emails only at planned specific times – no more than once or twice per day and for a pre-determined time (i.e. 30 minutes). In your responses, be very specific and concise about when you will call/respond and exactly what you want to talk about.
5. Learn to say “No” to the unimportant. Learn to say “Yes” to the important and give yourself freedom to do those tasks in an intentional way. For example, when asked to do a task or provide information, say, “Yes, I’m happy to help you and I’ll get that to you by tomorrow at 2:00pm.” Then schedule that task for tomorrow and keep your commitments to yourself and others – trust increases. Strive to under-promise and over-deliver.
6. When you eat, focus on what you are eating and any conversations at the table. Avoid reading or watching TV while eating. Be conscious of what you allow to enter your body and brain because input affects output. Garbage in; garbage out – trust decreases. Healthy in; healthy out – trust increases.
7. When you exercise, focus on your movements, breathing, positive self-talk, and sensations – trust increases. Avoid distracting and negative thoughts about work, economy, relationships, etc.
8. When with your life-partner or family, be totally energized and present for yourself and them. Think, speak, and act in ways that build trust in those relationships – coming from love, rather than not-love. If you need to vent about something, ask for permission. If granted, be specific, concise, get it off your chest, and let it go – it’s done. If permission is not granted, let it go and focus on the positives now. Face it; others don’t care about your BS stories and grievances, they’ve got their own.
9. Learn to forgive yourself for your unloving, unproductive thoughts, words, and actions. You can’t change the past. Understand there is a lesson in every experience. Use the lessons to move forward in a focused and effective way.
Since this is the time of the year for resolutions and commitments, why not commit NOW to applying these tips and replace multi-tasking with a focus, productivity, and love strategy? Do it NOW. You’ll see, hear, and feel the results you like.
For me? Ahh, it feels great to complete this. Next task? Kayaking down the toboggan hill. Yahoo!!
Article by Dan Ohler. Chech out his blog Thinkin’ Outside the Barn
Link Photo courtesy of Jeremy Price