Time to Focus?

MultitaskingI like to think I excel at multitasking. I mean, doesn't it feel like we're all doing a hundred things in the same instant? It does for me.

In reality, I'm pretty sure we can only multitask so many tasks. I can have several programs running at the same time: Word, Excel, Email and even a chat or Instant Message window (maybe running as part of my web browser), but if we're honest with ourselves, we can really work on only one program at a time.

It's not like I can type a memo in Word at the exact same time I can enter data in an Excel spreadsheet. Even if I wanted to, the computer only allows one program to be worked in at a time. But I do think I can get more done by not using the phone.

With the computer, I can jump from program to program quickly.  I can reply to an email in a matter of seconds (maybe minutes, if I need to think) and then quickly go back to my Word document. That's one reason I prefer email to the phone. Email is quick and I can get back to work. A phone call? Well, a phone call requires real focus.

Think about it. How many times have you been on the phone with a friend, family member or work associate and noticed an odd pause in the conversation? You know right away they aren't paying attention. And when you repeat the question, they give a generic 'yeah, yeah, yeah' because they've been trying to read an email or a text rather than hear what you're saying.

Anyone who says they can read emails and listen to a phone call at the same time is either lucky at guessing what the conversation is about or stuck in their own world. When it comes to the phone, you have two options: speaking or listening. If you're not doing one or the other, you're trying too hard to multitask.

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