You hear it on the nightly news and network morning shows. You read about it in newspapers, self-help books and magazine covers. Everybody is supposedly doing it and wanting to learn how to do it better. Therefore, it must be a good thing-Right?
Wrong, just because it makes a good sound bite and EVERYBODY wants to say he or she is doing it does not make it right for you. (Didn’t your mother ever give you the ‘If everyone is jumping off a cliff does that mean you should’ speech?) Are we so programmed that we are eager to jump on the latest bandwagon without questioning the validity for ourselves?
Multi-tasking sounds like a great idea but the premise is false; you cannot possibly be doing several tasks with equal attention and emphasis. If you have ever driven on the interstate and watched someone put on their makeup, tie a tie, or dive for something on the floorboard as they hurl their vehicle down the road at 75 miles an hour, you know what I mean. That being said, I admit to being a victim of the multi-tasking mindset until I realized that I was losing focus. I was doing several things in mediocre fashion and not even remembering most of it.
There are plenty of people, organizations, and companies ready to solve your time management dilemmas. I did a Google search for time management and came up with 756,000.000 sites. If you really want to multi-task and waste a lot of time, sort through all those someday! In the past couple of days I have run across the following article titles:
-11 Time Management Tips
-5 Categories for Effective Time Management
-12 Easy Ways to Organize Your Work Life
-10 Quick Time Management Tips
-Top 10 Time Management and Productivity Tools
Titles like these leave me wondering, is it 10 tips or 11? If more is better, maybe I should go with the 39 tools. Is a category better than a tip? How can there be 39 tools if someone just told me there were 12 easy ways?
Time management tips, books, and articles are as prevalent as diet books and should be treated the same way. There are undoubtedly some good ideas in all of them, but that does not mean every method or idea is right for you. You will have to make choices. Choices require thought, reflection, and being honest with yourself.
It is often easier to accept someone else’s solution or opinion, but they rarely work for us. Multi-tasking can be a form of avoidance used to distract us from facing the situation and doing what needs to be done. To gain focus so you can make intelligent choices on how to best use your time, try the following exercises.
1. During the day, preferably first thing in the morning or last thing at night, empty your mind. Do this without distractions and interruptions. This can be done by writing out everything that is on your mind or sit quietly and mentally click through what is junking up your brain and visualize dumping the contents into a dumpster. Experiment and find out what works best for you. As you do this, you will begin to notice recurring patterns, concerns, and even worries. List them, invest your time, and deal with them so you are free. Often dealing with them means changing the way you view them or your attitudes.
2. You may not realize it, but every waking moment your brain is filled with mind chatter. This internal conversation is framing the way you see yourself and everything that happens to you, and most of it is negative and judgmental. Your mind chatter, or whatever you choose to call it, makes you feel both afraid to do something and guilty if you do not. Good news! Research shows that even a slight decrease in your negative self-talk increases your ability to respond to the world more creatively. My favorite way to combat negative messages is the rubber band trick.
Wear a rubber band around your left wrist if you are right-handed or your right wrist if you are left-handed. Each time you catch yourself thinking negatively, pull on the rubber band and give yourself a flick. I guarantee this will wake you up and make you take notice! If your wrist is red and swollen at the end of the day you know your negatives out weigh your positives. I use it myself and like it so much I had special rubber bands made to use and share with others
Darla Arni 2011