This is a guest post from Matt Cheuvront and is part of the Guest Blog Grand Tour over at Life Without Pants. Want to learn more about Matt Cheuvront & see how far the rabbit hole goes? Subscribe to the Life Without Pants RSS feed & follow him on Twitter to keep in touch!
I remember my 6th birthday like it was yesterday. And I don’t remember a whole lot from my early years so that’s saying a lot. Entering into my 6th year – I had a party at the local bowling alley – you know, back in the day when Bowling was actually fun and they’d put up the bumpers for you. And at that party – every single guest…every one, got me Legos. Lego castles, Lego pirate ship, Lego cowboys…one great big Lego paradise.
Except for one girl, Leah – who got me a Batman toy: A cardinal sin at this birthday party. Age 5 was Ninja Turtles, age 7 was Ninja Turtles, but age 6 was all Legos all day – So needless to say Batman got taken back to Toys R Us the next day for, yep…you guessed it, more Legos.
You see, I loved Legos – I loved meticulously building the scenes for hours – laying out these epic battles and then tearing everything apart, only to put everything back together again. It was my love, my life, my passion (at least until I got a Nintendo).
Back to the simple life
When we’re kids – life is so simple – we develop this one track mind and nothing else matters. Food, sleep, bathroom – these were all secondary for me to the primary goal of getting more Legos.
As we grow older, things change, responsibilities add up, and we lose track of that focus – we think about the million things we have to do and forget about the most important things – the one or two true PASSIONS that drive us to be at our best.
So what’s the point of this ridiculous/awesome Lego example? Well, one, to give you a funny story to relate to because, who are we kidding, you were right there next to me when you were six – but secondly, and maybe more importantly, to tell you that multi-tasking is overrated.
Yes, I said it – that one quality we all mention during the interview – “being a good multi-tasker” – may not be such a good thing. Instead of constantly worrying about doing a million things at once, maybe it’s time that we (you) start focusing on one thing at a time.
How focused are you?
Sure, when I was a kid I could have played with my Legos while eating a Happy Meal while watching Aladdin while playing dress up while eating ice cream. And no doubt I did all of those things at once many times – but when I was most content was when I could really devote all of my attention to one thing.
The same goes for today – when I’m writing a blog post – I get offline, I turn off Tweetdeck, close email, get away from the TV, and devote all of my attention to writing a post from start to finish. It’s just one example of MANY that can be applied to nearly everything you do both personally and professionally.
Focus on one project at a time at work, when you’re with your significant other, stay off your Iphone and give him or her your full undivided attention. Odds are, when you give up the constant multi-tasking approach and start focusing on one thing at a time, you’ll be happier, more productive, and everyone else around you will appreciate your willingness to devote your FULL attention span to them. Trust me, it means a lot – and people can tell when you’re not really “there”.
So go ahead and build your epic Lego castle battle scene – Aladdin and your six-piece Chicken McNugget will be right there waiting when you’re ready…
What do you think? Is multitasking overrated? How do you balance focusing on one thing at a time and juggling a million things at once? When are you most productive?