Time Well Wasted
Okay, so this is the very first ezine that I did not actually create, at least not all of it. Below, I’ll reference a fantastic example of a “day in the life” that most of us will fully appreciate, laugh about and likely keep re-living. Kind of like Groundhog Day.
I’ll throw in my ideas for reversing the Groundhog effect at the end. And I do not know who the original author of this piece is - I’d surely give credit if I did. It was passed around FB a few years ago and my wife recently ran across it again. Here you go:
This morning I decide to water my garden.
As I turn on the hose, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.
As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the table that I collected from the mailbox earlier. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.
I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the trash bin under the table, and notice that it is full.
So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the trash first.
But then I think, since I’m going to be near the mailbox when I take out the trash anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.
I take my checkbook off the table, and see that there is only 1 check left.
My extra checks are in my desk in my office, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke I’d been drinking.
I’m going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don’t accidentally knock it over.
The Coke is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the fridge to keep it cold.
As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the countertop catches my eye – they need water.
I put the Coke on the countertop and discover my reading glasses that I’ve been searching for all morning.
I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I’m going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the worktop, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote control.
Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we watch TV, I’ll be looking for the remote control, but I won’t remember that it’s on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the family room where it belongs, but first I’ll water the flowers.
I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.
So, I set the remote control back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.
Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.
At the end of the day:
- The garden isn’t watered
- The car isn’t washed
- The bills aren’t paid
- There is a warm can of Coke sitting on the countertop
- The flowers don’t have enough water
- There is still only 1 check in my checkbook
- I can’t find the remote control
- I can’t find my glasses
- And I don’t remember what I did with the car keys.
Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I’m really baffled because I know I was busy all day, and I’m really tired.
I realize this is a serious problem, and I’ll try to get some help for it, but first I’ll check my e-mail.
Okay, how do we NOT let this happen too often?
First, stay focused – do not, I repeat, do not multi-task unless you are a professional. So keep focused and finish what you start. Then, when completely finished, take on the next task. Best of all, plan out your tasks in advance; prioritize them, putting the most important or most difficult (still important) first. Then work your plan as written. Remember not to get distracted, as distractions open up more tasks. Yes, that means keep the email off, unless that’s the task you’re working on.
Now, for those of you who insist on multi-tasking because you feel you can handle it. Keep these two things in mind. While you may handle each task, you are likely much more stressed in the process. Relating? Also, you are less likely to do any one task as well as you would have with focused, single-minded effort.
If you still insist on multi-tasking, which I do realize is nearly impossible not to do at some point, just be sure it’s with the simpler, perhaps less important tasks.
Prioritize, focus, act, finish. Repeat.