Hi, SE friends! Thanks for visiting. You’re with Mae today. Do you remember when no one uttered the word multitasking? When, in the (dinosaur) days of business, projects were conducted one at a time? That manner of productivity seems to have gone the way of roller skate keys and S & H Green Stamps. Who among us doesn’t multitask? I do it on my day job and as an author. It can be mentally exhausting, stressful, and not as efficient as we think.
The other day, I left a simple two-line message for a group I’m connected with through a social platform. Eleven words total. When I went back and looked at it later, I realized there were two typos. Not the end of the world, but it’s embarrassing, and I find myself doing it more frequently. Throughout my (day) career, I have been known as a perfectionist, yet I find myself messing up as an author.
Why? Because I’m juggling two, three, or six things at the same time.
If you’re like me, you’re probably checking email at the same time you’re looking over Twitter, reviewing what you posted on your blog and visiting and commenting on your friends’ blogs. Odds are you may be multitasking as you read this. We have so much to do, and only a limited time to accomplish what we need to get done, we squeeze in as much as we can, when we can—not without consequences.
The more tasks we focus on at one time, the more opportunity we have of making mistakes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read through one of my blog posts or a book review, only to discover a mistake later. When you multitask, your brain is constantly in fast forward, which can result in. . .
Where was I?
Shifting between tasks effects short term memory. Ever been in the middle of a project and draw a blank? Bingo! Your brain just hit a hiccup and has to re-calibrate. And once you lose focus it’s hard to reorient and pick up where you left off.
Case in point: I had an email come in while I was writing this blog post. What did I do? I hopped over to read it, of course. palmforehead And then I had absolutely no idea what I had been doing before. And now I am . . .
Multitasking is exhausting. You’ve turned your attention into a ping-pong ball by never allowing it to truly settle and absorb information. Ever notice when you give your undivided attention to a topic, you retain it better than if it’s one of several you’re digesting at the same time? Odds are if you ever engage in research for your writing project, you’re focused solely on that. Maybe that’s why so many writers find research enjoyable and not . . .
Who hasn’t felt the pressure of trying to accomplish too much at once? Let’s face it—when we pile on tasks, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. And that brings exhaustion and misery. So, what’s the solution?
I go in spurts where I embrace this method of thinking, and it works for a while. I feel good because I usually chalk a lot off off my to-do list. But then I fall into bad habits (multitasking), and I’m back to being mentally exhausted, stressed, and wondering “where was I?” Let’s not forget that multitasking can and does sap creative energy. I also find that I was much better at the wretched thing when I was younger, thriving on the challenge. Meh. Not so anymore.
As writers, multitasking is part of our daily life. We are authors, business owners, marketing specialists, social media participants, editors, readers, designers, and creators. That’s a lot on one plate. Just remember—even if it’s only now and again—you don’t always have to digest it all at one time.
Are you a multitasker? Do you have an organized system that allows you to accomplish daily goals or do you rabbit from task to task, accomplishing what you can, when you can? Share your thoughts and let’s weigh the benefits of multitasking versus the downside of juggling too much at one time.
Ready, set, go!