I don’t know about you, but I have always been told that multi-tasking is the Holy Grail of efficiency. Get one job started, and whilst that is humming along, start on the next, the whole time keeping a weather eye on a third.
It is the holiday season here in New Zealand, and I have been away in the van for several days, back for a few, and am going away again tomorrow. So I have been quite busy; I wanted to get all my jobs done so I can go away with a clear slate.
I decided I would get some soup on for dinner, and whilst that cooked, do some sewing for my small business. I would also, whenever I was up, out of my seat, put out the laundry, put fresh water in the van or anyone of a number of small jobs on my list. This way I would be highly efficient, get all my jobs done, and be ready to set off at 6am tomorrow morning.
I guess you know what happened. I burnt the soup, forgot the laundry in the washing machine, found myself setting out to do jobs I had already done, and forgot things I should have done first.
So I gave up, made a list and started mono-tasking instead. I prioritised the list, and grouped things that could be done at the same time, or in the same area. For example, in the kitchen I made (another) batch of soup, and whilst I was there I also put together food items to take tomorrow. The soup was the task though, and I concentrated on that. When the soup was made, I turned it off and then looked at the food for the trip. I carefully checked what I had collected against the list of what I needed.
I then took this down the the van. There were a number of van jobs, so I did these, whilst I was there, one at a time. And so on. Each job done carefully, properly, and done correctly the first time. If the job required concentration…I concentrated on it! And I still got everything done in time to write this blog post before going to bed.
So I am going to give up multi-tasking….except in the most basic way, e.g. listening for the phone whilst sewing, and take up mono-tasking. I think it actually saves time in the end!