Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Multi-Tasking

When I was a marketing and public relations professional, I was a master multi-tasker. Friends tease me about my organizational abilities--planning ahead, keeping my to-do lists up-to-date, tracking details, etc. Had no problems remembering phone numbers, what was next on my agenda, planning my next move while completing the current one.

That was then. Now, however, it's a different story. My brain remembers lyrics from songs since I was 4 years old, but your phone number? Oy vay. If I don't write down something I think of that needs doing, it's gone. I start one to-do list, lose it, start another one, and before I know it, I have post it notes and slips of paper all over the house.

This past weekend, I needed to bring back my ability to multi-task. I won't bore you with the details, but we needed to accomplish five major things and the only way was to jam something in in between something else.
Part of me likes being this busy--I was getting tired of evenings in front of the boob tube, flipping channels with nothing decent to watch (unless there was a good movie). But truly, out of all the cable and premium channels we have, mostly there's nothing worth the time.

But the other part longs for more down time. I need that--unstructured, unfettered, unplanned--time to just be. To allow the creative juices to flow. I am already thinking through activities, eliminating those that can be eliminated. But I'm down to eliminating ones I enjoy. It's about which ones I enjoy most and which I can do without, despite enjoying them.

Perhaps, the lesson as I age is not to try to gain back my multi-tasking mastery, but to better focus on what's right in front of me. Be more fully present with each task, each activity.

Do you multi-task well or do you give whatever it is you are doing your complete attention?

Blessings,
Karen

11 comments:

The Old Silly said...

I learned, when practicing Zen, to focus on the here and now - do everything with complete single mindedness and focus. So when I eat, I just eat. When I sit, I just sit. When I walk, I just walk. I don't even like music playing when I write. I just write. Yet I can still multi-task - because when I have to multi-task, I just multi-task.

Good topic today. I enjoyed your perspective and thoughts on it very much.

Marvin D Wilson

Becki said...

Oh Karen I am so with you on this multi-tasking thing. I used to do it, albeit not well, now my notes have notes, and I loose them, or decide tomorrow would be a better day! LOL. Thanks for making my morning. I am going to start following your blog, at a dear friends' suggestion!

Crystal Clear Proofing said...

I do a bit of both. Like Marvin, when I do multi-task, I focus on *those things* -

I've gotten more comfortable focusing on one thing at a time though.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm big on a to-do list and tend to multi-task often. I have two computers on my desk and can blog on one while conducting research on the other. However, I can focus and run through my to-do list at top speed.

And what is down time? Never heard of it! LOL

Joanne said...

No, I've never multi-tasked well. I might have a few things going on at once, in a sense. But I can only be working on one, focusing on that alone. Otherwise, I'm not giving the task my best.

Stephen Tremp said...

I sort my To Do List in the following five catagories:

A Must do or severe consequences
B Should do or mild consequences
C Would be nice to do
D Delegate
E Eliminate

Stephen Tremp

Helen Ginger said...

Like you, I keep a to-do list, ever changing, ever growing. I'm discovering that I need to work on one task at a time, though. When I have an editing project to do for a client, a post to write, blogs to visit, my own book to work on (deadline looming), website to update, housework to do, etc., I start with the most important and set a timer. I'm finding this helps me use my time more wisely.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I think most women multi-task out of necessity. There's so much to balance that if we didn't very little would get done!

Elspeth

Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

Oh gosh.. a million things at one time!!! I never knew I could do anything less! LOL

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Per my blog post of recent...I'm in "break time" because I have multi tasked myself into a whirlwind of "stuff". Illness in family, lots of changes happening, lots of work, weariness and worry! Time to catch my breath, untask (Is that a word?) and reorganize my life! Looking for fun and relaxation too! Hope you find it as well!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Nope, I try to focus on one thing at a time, even if it's only for fifteen minutes. I retired from multi-tasking when I retired from work in the real world. As for memory, for some reason I can remember numbers (like my long library card number) and passwords, but remembering names or movie titles or anything on my To Do List is a very iffy proposition. I write myself notes and leave them all over the house.