Switching Your Focus Not Multitasking

Multitasking remains the badge of honor for many in this era of high technology gadgets.

More than half of the people in the front row during keynote presentations at the software conference had smart phones out. How do I know they were using them? Well, the screens were lighted.

There are things called “notifications” on your devices. Maybe little red bubbles with a number inside. The number of new messages or alerts for that app. And you have how many apps?

It’s so bad that as I write this I glanced at the top of my screen and saw a notification for Adobe Creative Cloud. There must be an update. I clicked. Then came the thought–what the heck are you doing?

When I’m at home in a routine, I find it easier to focus on one thing and then the next. When I find myself drifting into thoughts of other tasks or writing, I can blink, look around, do something to return to my task at hand.

Because the reality is that we can really only focus on one thing at a time. Otherwise we are really just existing in a fog of partial thoughts and plan. Accomplishing nothing but stressing ourselves and those around us.

Traveling makes routine difficult. How do set aside private time for spiritual reading and prayer? How to not eat too much, drink too much, or become too tired such that we lose mental edge and focus.

I have at least eight major tasks to work on: four for assigning referees to various soccer competitions, normal writing, write a white paper for a client, write a post for a client, organize details for a mission trip. And there are more lurking just behind these. If I think of the whole group, I just surrender.

But if I focus on one thing at a time–even if for only 25 minutes per task–then I get a lot done.

People ask how I can get so much done. That’s my technique and my struggle. Also I waste very little time on things like TV. (We did watch two episodes we had recorded of Elementary last night. Even I need a break 😉  )

Decide ahead of time what you need to do to become the person you want to be. Then focus on one thing at a time. That eliminates at least one source of stress.

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