Multi-tasking

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

My life has become increasingly multi-tasking, mostly due to me allowing it to be interrupt-driven, and not distinguishing between the urgent and the important. An example: since I am dedicated to my electric toothbrush and go for the full two-minute cycle, I keep a supply of magazines close to the sink so that I can browse an article while I brush — otherwise the amount of time seems interminable. Today, however, I found myself sitting on the toilet while brushing my teeth and reading a magazine, which struck me as just a bit too much multi-tasking. Okay, I have a busy day today, but is it so busy that I need to do three things at once? And although all of these are somewhat mechanical tasks that don’t need a lot of attention, what other tasks am I combining where things are not getting done right because of it?

The funny thing was that when I was making tea immediately after that, I had a litany of things running through my head that I “needed” to do and I was desparate not to forget them. None of them were important: one was writing this post, which I would have eventually remembered to do anyway; one was adding a forgotten tag/link to a post that I did on my business blog earlier today; one was entering something into my food journal that I had missed recording yeseterday.

I have become a slave to the urgent, to the thing that shouts the loudest and interrupts my day. I even cause my own interruptions, primarily through the over-frequent checking of Bloglines for new posts on the 100+ blogs that I monitor. More than half of those blogs are business-related and feed into my work, and a quarter of them are news feeds since I don’t read paper newspapers, so they are relevant information; the problem is that I choose to access the feed reader many, many times during the day instead of just checking it a couple of times. I’ve just downloaded iPodder and am tracking five podcast feeds, too, although find myself without uninterrupted time to listen to them. And let’s not even discuss email, where I have both always-on DSL in my home office plus my beloved Crackberry.

This whole thing, I believe, is due to me losing my passion for my work. When I am doing what I love, I’m so focussed that I forget to eat and sleep, much less check my email or read blogs.

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