Time is a always a precious commodity, but some time is more valuable than the rest—for example, the time you devote to your family, your creative pursuits, or the most important aspects of your job.
When you block out time to do something you value, you don’t want anything to interfere—but when you’re really busy, mundane activities can start to creep up on you. You start trying to answer e-mails while playing with your kids, or return phone calls while catching up on emails. Resentment or anxiousness starts to build—and that negativity can sap your energy all too quickly.
I’m a big believer in multitasking: I do it whenever possible. However, notice what tasks you’re multitasking that may demand your full attention and how that might be affecting your overall output? For example, I often return phone calls while driving (using my hands-free, of course!). The calls I make are to friends and colleagues, not to new clients or potential partners. A conversation that requires deep thought and attention, or which might become emotional, should never be conducted in the car. I also love to read Entrepreneur Magazine while I’m on the treadmill or catch up on the news. Not only do I get ahead, it makes the workout go by faster.
More than simply saving time, mindful multitasking allows me to be work toward being fully present when it’s time to do something I value. It’s always a work in progress and a conscious habit I am continuing to practice. For example, if I have plans with my husband, I don’t want to ignore him in favor of laptop or be on the phone while my daughter is home and I know my mother in law hates it when I am doing dishes when I am on the phone. This week we are working on being mindful of knowing when you are mastering multitasking and when you are not.
Your Action Step this week is to make one list of things you do every day that need to be done without interruption, and another of activities which don’t necessarily require your full attention. For example, your train ride to work doesn’t demand that you be fully present; it doesn’t even demand that you be awake. Is there a way you can use your time on the train creatively? If family game night is on the “no interruptions” list, how can you multitask earlier in the day to ensure that your cell phone stays off through an entire game of Monopoly?
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