Tag Archives: uncertainty

Why I Don’t Multi-task Anymore

OK, maybe that statement is not completely true, but on the whole I try not to, which is a far cry from where I used to be – the queen of multi-tasking. Ask anyone that knew me, I had my finger in many pies, plates spinning, the whole caboodle. I used to eat lunch at my desk, have multiple coaching calls through my lunch break for a programme I did outside of work and then get on with my day job straight after. My desktop had lots of windows open and the end result meant that whilst I had started almost everything that needed to be done, I had completed very little. And, there was always something to do after work, even if ‘after work’ started at 9pm. It seemed never-ending and to top it off it was something I was very proud of being able to do.

Being a solopreneur makes things worse, there is always that constant nagging voice which tells you that you must make use of every available minute and the best way to do that is to multi-task. However just over a month ago I started a new 14-day eating plan and it made me look at life differently. One of the rules was to spend at least 15 minutes eating your food, so no wolfing it down like I usually do! I found I was having to pay mindful attention to something that I didn’t usually think about and just that very act brought mindfulness to other areas of my life. I felt more grounded and peaceful taking time over my meals. If I had lunch at my desk, I stopped work and all I did was eat my lunch. I didn’t even browse on the internet or check out any social networking sites. So you may think ‘why is she talking about diets and food?’ but bear with me.

What I started to realise was what a noisy world my head was in. There were very few things that had my focused attention and it had become my default modus operandi – all I could do was multi-task… and isn’t that what gives women an edge over men? So I decided to try something different with my approach to work and that was to take just one thing and do that, fully, completely for as long as I said I would, no distractions. I liked it. I realised that the most productive approach wasn’t to be doing multiple things at the same time, and often things got done quicker and to a better standard when I did one thing at a time. This might be stating the bloody obvious but it hadn’t been to me.

I can tell you that the difference has been amazing. I don’t feel so stressed out or buzzy (that feeling when you’re running on adrenaline the whole time) and I look better too (less stress does that to you!). I find I schedule things in much more realistically and it has kept me so much more focussed. It also has improved my relationships with people as I actually spend more time listening to them rather than the thoughts in my head! I do still read books and do some bits of work when commuting and there are times when I sit in front of the TV with my laptop or smart phone in hand but apart from filling dead time, I just find it better to do one thing a time.

I’m not saying multi-tasking is bad per se, but consider whether it is all that it is cracked up to be. What are your thoughts on this?

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31.5 Getting naked in front of the world

Your heart is beating faster and faster
there is hesitation
a chance to turn back
and then the opportunity to act

Hitting the ‘publish’ button will be one such moment for me.

How many times after hesitating do we turn back, into familiar territory, often relieved but also perhaps a little disappointed that we did not act?

My close friends see me as courageous, often taking risks where they are unwilling to do so. However, I don’t see myself as courageous as I know there are many times that I retreat into my comfort zone. e.g. I have wanted to blog for sometime now but there has been a fear of exposing myself that has kept me from doing so. I won’t be able to control my image, there will be people out there who will make snap judgements about me, criticise my style, etc. You are only reading this as I made a promise that I would publish my first blog today.

For most of my life, I have always tried to portray a sense of perfection, having it all handled and uncertainty often causes my stress levels to rocket. In school I was the person who aced things, I always did well at work and have been successful at most things I have turned my hand to. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to be independent and doing it all myself, but the past year has made to look at things differently. I’ve had to especially as I’ve left the security of a job to pursue a passion and hoping to make a successful business out of it.

I currently have a few situations where I have been hesitant. Writing this blog has meant I’ve made a few decisions too! I’ve basically been scared of exposing myself, of putting my neck on the line and getting it chopped off! The reasoning usually is that until I choose, my options are open, but by that same reasoning, all options are also out of reach. Maintaining the status quo may provide a certain degree of certainty but it’s also boring. It is only by stepping out into the unknown, exposing myself will I ever know how it will go. It is also being able to dance with the uncertainty and be able to bear it for long enough not to close things down. Taking one step and then the next and continuing down that path, fully committed. I will let you know how things are going in future posts.

After all, uncertainty is where the excitement and adventure is, it’s those times when you go off travelling somewhere very different, riding that new rollercoaster ride and not knowing where the dips and bends are. The butterflies in your stomach, the trepidation, the exhilaration; it’s the thing that causes your heart to pump blood around your body so that you feel fully alive, rather than merely existing. This will open up a whole new world; you may or may not get the outcome you wanted… but you will have lived.

So where are you hesitant and what if instead of turning back, you stepped forward into the unknown? What would you do?

As a side note, I am also very much looking forward to reading Jonathan Fields’ book ‘Uncertainty’. It’s launched in the US tomorrow and hoping my copy finds me very soon.

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