We like to pride ourselves on our ability to multitask. Too bad our brains don’t cooperate. Johh Medina in his book Brain Rules says:
Multitasking, when it comes to paying attention, is a myth. The brain naturally focuses on concepts sequentially, one at a time… We are biologically incapable of processing attention-rich inputs simultaneously.
Medina goes on to say that people who are constantly interrupted take 50% longer to complete a task and make 50% more errors. Simply reaching for something while driving a car dramatically increases the possibility of an accident.
So, what’s this got to do with anything? I often put it this way— When everything is important, nothing is important. If we are going to get the most out of our lives we must do three things:
- Understand what’s most important to us. We can’t live out other people’s dreams; we must identify our why and claim it without hesitation.
- Identify those things that zap our time and attention. Start tracking the amount of time you spend engaged in activities that distract you from your real purpose—your why.
- Create a plan that assigns blocks of time to activities related to your why. Remember, the more you “change channels” the more likely you are to waste time and make mistakes.
As a writer, I understand this concept. I know how important it is to give quality time to my most important tasks. When I do that, I have extremely productive days. When I don’t, I reflect on my day with more concern for what could have been done.
Whether in our personal lives or at work, when we try to make everything important, nothing is important. This is a characteristic of a chaotic life and chaotic business. Think about it.
How do you decide what’s really important?