Multitasking

“You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once.”
Gary Keller

I’ve never been one for multitasking, in fact most of the time I struggle with doing one thing at a time. We’re told constantly how this is the key to achieving maximum productivity, but I don’t buy it. How can dividing your attention between things possibly help improve either task?

I think it comes down to time, and our perceived lack of it. What I would say is that if something is really worth doing, and is important to you then it really deserves your full attention. Have you ever tried having a meaningful conversation with someone while they’re looking at their phone? Looking up occasionally, giving a nod and then getting back to whatever it is that’s clearly more interesting and important than what you’re saying. It’s very annoying.

We’ve somehow convinced ourselves as a society that we are a lot busier than we actually are. “I don’t have time to take a lunch break today, so I’ll just grab a snack and eat at my desk”. “Sorry Mum, no time to talk. I’ll call you in a few days when I’ve finished this project.” We never seem to have enough time… Yet we have seen that funny cat video that’s gone viral on YouTube, and read that BuzzFeed article about the 200 most amazing things from reality TV, and caught the latest ep of Game of Thrones, and played Grand Theft Auto 5. It’s not that we don’t have enough time, but that we get pulled into all these distractions – our attention is constantly being taken by all these things that don’t matter. Next time you’re on a train, look at how many people are on their phones. How many are playing Candy Crush? My guess is quite a few. Or scrolling mindlessly through a social media feed – not really taking anything in but just endlessly scrolling.

Some of these ‘distractions’ might bring you joy, they may really add value to your life and that’s fine, but you need to ask, am I missing out on something more important? Is my attention being taken away from something else that is far more deserving of my time? The next time you feel like you’re too busy have a think about what has been taking your time away from you, and if it has really been worth it.

Find something you love, focus on it above all else, and see whether or not that brings you more joy. I bet it will.

An introduction

I want to live a more meaningful life with less. These are the words I heard when I starting reading and listening to ‘The Minimalists’; a couple of guys who tired of the rat race and wanted to change the way they live their lives. I thought that sounded pretty good, but what do they mean?

The Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

I have always been addicted to ‘stuff’, you know, the latest games, gadgets, clothes, accessories. All the things you are convinced from an early age will bring you joy and meaning. I would crave the latest phone, wowed by all the extra things it would be able to do. The excitement of opening the box and seeing this shiny pebble of happiness staring back at me. After a few days of getting it all set up, perusing the app store and downloading all of these essential little buttons of pure joy it just became the phone that I knew it was, not really all that much better than the last one.

Like a lot of people I don’t use technology to make my life simpler and more productive, but as a way of passing the time. I would sit on a train and play games, or trawl through various social media feeds, oblivious to the world around me. If you look up you would see everyone else doing the same thing. But why? What do we get out of it? The problem is that possessions have come to define me, and to define my happiness. I want to change this and I’m going to start now.