I used to think that multitasking got things done quickly and efficiently (am i alone here?). Do two things at once and you’re saving time, right? Wrong. Once I truly started looking at my multitasking I realized how inefficient I was being.
To start with, I would try to brush my teeth and change my clothes or make coffee. Let me tell you, there are some things you can do while brushing your teeth, but changing your clothes or making coffee is not one of them. While I would fill up the coffee maker with grounds, my brushing would come to a complete stop because I needed both hands to make coffee. I’m sure you can imagine how brushing my teeth in conjunction with changing my clothes went [hint… it didn’t].
For some reason I kept thinking that I was being productive by doing multiple things at once, even though I was neglecting my teeth while I was making coffee [hello productivity!….right?].
Then, this Christmas, one of my friends gave me a Harry Potter coloring book. I started coloring some evenings while I was sipping on a glass of wine, and listening to Elton John [which ps: is the right kind of multi-tasking]. It wasn’t until I was a few pictures in that I realized I was unsuccessfully trying to multitask. I would start using one color and then see a different part of the drawing that needed to be colored, and I would stop coloring the section I was on, and move to a different section.
Now if you’ve never colored an adult coloring book [which by the way, am I the only one who hears the term “adult coloring book” and thinks it’s something dirty?] there are a ton of different spots to color. Like, I’m talking hundreds of teeny tiny spots. So in my attempt to multitask I would drop one color I was already using and move to a different color, only to need to come back to the first color. Are you following? If so, you realize how incredibly unproductive this is. I still needed to finish the spot I was working on, and it would still be there when I finished the second spot I chose to color.
All in all, this is a long-winded way of saying that coloring taught me to stop multitasking, and instead focus on doing one thing really well, and then move onto the next. It wasn’t until I started coloring that I realized how my attempts to multi-task were failing, and I was actually wasting time. Since realizing this I’ve tried to slow down and focus on one task at a time, and I think it’s helped. Every once in a while I’ll catch myself unsuccessfully multi-tasking, but for the most part I feel I’ve become more productive.
Phew. What about you lovely readers? Do you do anything that you used to think was productive, but later realized how unsuccessful it was? Let me know about it in the comment section below!