Does Being Able To Multi-Task Always Lead To Success?

In this hectic world that preaches how we must multi-task if we are to get a lot accomplished in a small amount of time, it's best to start by doing nothing. Yes, nothing. To achieve a lot, we must begin with quiet and stillness. Why? Because we have to be sure we are going to do the right thing which requires planning. It's easy to look busy; but it's important we aren't just doing figure eights, doing a lot but accomplishing little.

In Dave Allen's national bestseller, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, he explains how he has spent a lot of time looking "for answers to the questions of what to do, when to do it, and how to do it." How about you? How much time do you spend planning? So often we end up answering the call of many urgent matters allowing important matters undone. There's a big difference between what's urgent and what's important. How do we get more done on what's important in life? The answer is better planning. A minute ago, I mentioned how the world preaches to us how important it is to multi-task. At times, yes we need to multi-task. But often when we are doing many things our focus becomes blurred, concentration wanes and we don't do our best job on any one activity. The greater the number of tasks we work on at the same time the greater our focus diminishes, and the better chance we have of not finishing what's important to us. Our primary tasks suffer. Planning ahead can make a difference.

If our main goal is complex, the more important it is that we bring our entire concentration to bear on what we are doing. One possibility we can plan for is to inform others we are not to be interrupted during a certain period of time. What we're doing is very important and we need to really focus on it so we can do a great job and get the project finished.

Perhaps, as we are planning, we might also see we're allowing far too little time for important matters. We can't kid ourselves here. It doesn't serve us well to pack so much into a time frame that we have no chance of finishing the task. Time works against us if we take on more than we can reasonable do.

What I'm saying here is that there are times when we must be single-minded to reach our full potential. This single-mindedness allows us to stay centered when working on our main task. We will work better because we won't have the stress of trying to do two things at once, causing us to lose our focus on both. Yes, there are times when we have no choice. We have to multi-task. But with better planning those occasions will happen less often and we will accomplish far more.

One important time to be single-minded is... when we are planning. So don't have the television on, the radio on, or hold conversations with others while you plan your day. Stay focused, plan well and you will accomplish far more.


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