Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Multi-tasking and Inspiration

Today, on the NaBloPoMo site, there was a question about finding inspiration for writing. Also, today, I read an article about the negative impact of multitasking.

So, of course, I'm multitasking, by trying to think about where I find inspiration while beating myself up for multitasking.

My inspiration, of course, comes from my family. Sometimes, in fact, there is so much inspiration that I am paralyzed, because the last thing I want to do is post something I find hysterical, at the expense of a family member's feelings. I've had a blog or two that rubbed someone the wrong way, so I've tried to tone it down, but sometimes that's a bummer, because there's gold in the embarrassing stuff.

Anyway, on to multitasking. I'm the queen of the multitask, perpetually doing a ton of things at once. I read today that this is a bad thing, because it apparently increases my stress, lowers my IQ, and decreases my productivity. I should knock it off, I guess, but honestly, I don't know how. The writer of the article did an experiment and stopped multitasking for a week, and apparently it was super fantastic.

But see, I think he has a wife. Because he mentioned that at one point he broke the rules when his two year old came into his office, which leads me to believe that someone else had the two year old up to that point.

Also, he said he had phone conversations without doing anything but being on the phone, and I can say without reservation: that would make me nuts. I currently have a situation in which my phone only works in the upstairs of my house, which means that I can only do upstairs things while I am on the phone. At least once a day, I stand in my room, on the phone, internally freaking out about something downstairs that needs my attention. Being on the phone, even in a conversation I want to have, makes me feel vastly unproductive. My solution? If I know I will be on the phone, I have something in my room that needs to be done, like laundry to fold, or some other menial task. Or, I talk on the phone when I'm driving. I know, I know, but it's the only way I feel productive on the phone. The idea of doing nothing else is crazy to me.

I was talking to someone about the multitasking thing today, and we think that, while it is nice to be able to focus on one thing, it probably means someone else is multitasking on your behalf.

On another note, I don't know that I am capable of a complete absence of the multitask. There are times when I can really focus on one thing, and truly get something accomplished. However, more often, when I try to focus on just one task, I get stumped. Staring blankly at a page, I sit without a thought in my head. Play a round of Mahjong, and I'm back on track. I'm just saying.

One thing I have been trying to do, over the past several months, is truly focus on people when I'm with them. If I'm hanging out with someone, even if it's "just" my girls, and I'm "just" driving them somewhere, I try to give them my full attention. That has nothing to do with reading an article, I just started feeling like I was missing the point of my life by always thinking about whatever is coming up next.

How about you, readers? Are you multitaskers? Or have you learned to focus on one thing at a time, make the most of life as you're living it? Or is there a happy medium that combines both sensibilities?

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