I suck at multi-tasking.
For me it means dishtowels end up in refrigerators, butter ends up in the dishwasher, the keys are god-only-knows-where, dinner is burned and I suddenly wake up from a creative coma to discover I’ve been driving down some road and have no idea where I even am.
Whoever came up with this godforsaken idea that our brains should be going in eight different directions at once had us confused with octopuses, and I am clearly no octopus. I am a one-track woman, focused like a high-speed train on a mission. That is the way my creator planned for me to be uniquely and magnificently made, except for one little thing.
He forgot to tell me how I was supposed to get everything done in a short little twenty-four hour day, when my Git-‘er-done list needed several more hours then that for even a hope of completion.
So, I tried to multi-task.
I tried to run around like all the other folks I knew who took great pride in juggling their balls and balloons and plates and dishes and who knows what else they had flying around up there, but seriously… I SUCK at it.
Balance is not my middle name, I can’t juggle, (I’m not all that coordinated anyhow) and my ability to split my focus in null and void. So what was I going to do?
Was I disabled? Was this a character flaw? Is not being able to multi-task a sign of impaired intelligence? Heavens knows, it wouldn’t be good to admit it on a resume.
CANNOT MULTI-TASK. PERIOD. DO NOT HIRE.
I needed a solution for how to function in a world that had sped up the game and squeezed in too much TO DO in TOO LITTLE TIME.
And I found it.
In the cracks.
It was so simple it was genius. It was so easy that I managed to get more done than my multi-tasking counterparts. (With a lot less stress)
We started to implement it into our business at Blue Sun Studio and discovered we could take care of our clients, handle our own business tasks, and still have time to write novels… all without that rushed, crazed, brain-exploding mind-numbing, “Running out of time” feeling that everyone else seemed to have.
How do we do it?
I’m almost embarrassed to tell you, because you will say, “Is that all?”
and the answer is…yep…that’s all.”
Like I said, it’s so simple, it’s genius.
Here it is. Ready?
Mindset Shift – So many of us run around with a story in our head that there isn’t enough time. We will “Never have enough time to get it all done.” That thought creates stress the second it comes into our head. Then, because we believe it, we make it so. We crunch time, waste time, use it ineffectively. We make time an adversary instead of a friend and helper.
Try this: “There is always plenty of time to do everything that is important and valuable to me.” Start saying that. Over and over and over again. Make it a mantra. Watch what happens. After your minds begins to believe what you are saying to it, it will start asking you questions when you sit down to a time-sucking vortex activity. It will ask, “Is this important and valuable?” You might be tempted to ignore that whisper. But if you keep up with that mantra, that voice is going to get louder, until suddenly you find yourself getting off your behind and doing exactly the thing you actually wanted to be doing in the first place!
Pay Attention to the Cracks– Remember the old rhyme, “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.”? Remember how we would walk so carefully, paying attention to all the cracks in the sidewalk? Well, guess what? There are cracks in time as well. Little cracks in the moments between moments and we waste them all day long, waiting for the next moment to occur. The time you waste waiting for that client to call you back could answer three emails. That six minutes in between meetings would do a world of good for your posture if you would get up and stretch, maybe do a few yoga poses. That nagging bill you keep forgetting to pay? TWO MINUTES. No more than that. You have the time, just slip it into one of the cracks.
You get up in the morning, make a pot of coffee and lean against the counter waiting for it to get done. Or we waste it getting sucked into “just checking Facebook for a few seconds.” Did you know that while a pot of coffee is brewing, you can empty a dishwasher, fill it, wipe down counter-tops and shine your sink? Believe it. I do it all the time. Or… if you gave yourself the gift of a shiny kitchen to wake up to, you can also use that crack in time to bring down a load of laundry, toss it in, fold the ones from last night and put them away. By the time you get back, there will be the reward of a nice hot cup of coffee to greet you for your morning meditation time.
What… you don’t meditate?
Oh… then maybe you need a part three.
Focus– The opposite of multi-tasking is focus, awareness, and purposefulness. Strive to develop a clear mind that is quiet. One that can hear its own thoughts, free of noise and chatter. Ways to help you reach this goal of living more purposefully and focused would be: Yoga. Controlled breathing. Journaling. Slowing down. Meditation in many forms, be it traditional meditation, nature walks, prayer… the choices are almost non-ending. For some, creative art is another way.
Heck, I am told that knitting is a way to quiet the mind. Again, I’m not coordinated enough to orchestrate two sticks and yarn in any zenful way, so I’ll have to take their word for it. It makes me want to stab someone. The point being, there are many paths to a quiet mind. Explore, see what works for you. But a quiet mind slows time and gets more done in a day.
And that… is the simple genius of it.
Three Simple Steps:
- Slow down to get more done.
- Pay attention to the time in the cracks
- Focus, not multi-task.
I have read several books that say time is an illusion, that it doesn’t even exist. Einstein believed it was relative. We certainly won’t solve that metaphysical puzzle here, but this I know. The time we do have, is subject to our awareness and focus of it, and will bend to our power of its use. IT does not control us, IF we choose to slow down and become more purposeful of IT.
We have the choice, the power and all the time in the world.