Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Relaxation Tip 5 - Don't multi-task

"Doing several things at one time is like inserting 7 or 8 plugs into one electric socket.  It drains the power quicker, risks overloading the circuit and blowing a fuse."   (David Algeo RobertsonCooper)

Do you ever feel that you're in a sort of scatter gun mode?  This can certainly happen to me when I feel under pressure to get lots of things done.  Sometimes I feel my brain leaping from one thing to another and then my body follows flitting from one part done task to the next, becoming frantic and headless chicken like.  Does that sound familiar?

As Algeo says, trying to do lots of things at once is a sure way to drain our energy faster and risk us hitting burn out.  

Although it can feel counter productive to stop when we feel we've got so much to get done, it really is time to step back and look at what needs doing and decide on our priority.  We need to ask ourselves, at this very point in time, what is the single most important task I should be working on right now?

We've talked a lot about tips for getting things done in previous articles so have a look at these three for more information and advice...

3. Time Boxing Unwrapped

Multi-tasking kind of lures you in and I'm definitely one who falls for it so I've come up with 4 questions to ask myself when I feel I'm slipping into headless chicken mode!  I've included my responses as well...

  • Is it an effective and productive way to work? No
  • Have I got twice as much done in half the time? I wish...but no!
  • Have I made mistakes? Most probably
  • Do I feel mentally drained? You bet I do
I'm not saying this is THE answer and that you or I will never fall into the multi tasking trap ever again but hopefully we'll be tempted less often or will at least notice we're doing it a lot quicker and make the changes faster.

Remember, you can do anything but not everything.

PS.  Just for the record, my plugs and wires are not like the one in the photo.  I purely set this one up for the shoot.  Don't worry Dad, it's all safe here!


  1. How I agree with you Lisa. Multi-tasking sounds so alluring, so business-efficient but can any of us say what it really means. I've tried so many times over the years to get a proper definition but it seems to me that multi-tasking just means trying to tackle too much at once. I remember reading a children's story many years ago called 'Well begun is half done" Isn't this what really happens when you try to multi-task. Nowadays the only multi-tasking I attempt is sipping a cup of tea while reading my emails.

  2. Thanks for your comment Adrian. I believe the term "multi-tasking" originates from computing and refers to current computers being able to run several applications or programs simultaneously. I think the danger comes when a term is taken from one area ie. computing and applied to another entity ie. humans.
    On one hand we humans multi-task all the time at simple "tasks" we're very practiced in; listening to the radio whilst cooking a meal, singing whilst having a shower, walking and holding a conversation...
    But when we're faced with more complicated, thought demanding, creative thinking, problem solving tasks, it's probably best to stick to one thing at a time if we want to be really effective and efficient.
    Lisa WSWS


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...