Ok, Take a Second to Breathe

11 08 2009

I don’t know about everyone else, but sometimes I feel like my To Do list is so overwhelming that instead of tackling it, I want to run from it. Or, I find that I am feeling motivated, but when I try to decide what to work on, I realize I have so many projects going at once and I don’t know what should have priority.

It’s times like these (either wanting to hide from my tasks or expecting my head to explode from trying to prioritize) that make me cringe. But, I am realizing, that what I need to do is to just take a minute and take a deep breathe or two. Inhale … exhale … breathe in … breathe out. Let’s just take it one step at a time.

Today’s technology allows us to multitask like never before. We can have numerous websites open at one time (including the time zappers of Facebook and YouTube). We can even get online and/or read our emails on our phones. We can talk to people in so many different ways: we can email, instant message, post a message to their wall (on whichever social networking site you choose), we can call them, we can send a text message, we can see them via video conference, and we can even speak to them face-to-face (something that we seem to sadly reserve for strangers at the grocery store).  It is not something that I am proud of, but I have been on the phone with one person, while chatting via instant messaging on Facebook with multiple people at the same time … and I think I had the television on too.

No wonder I have trouble focusing on one task – somewhere along the way, I forgot how to do that. Even if it appears I am only doing one thing, my mind is going over several other things – who I need to contact, when I am going to go to the gym, what I’m going to have for dinner, and so many other things.  I know that if I will allow myself to stop, breathe, and focus on one project at a t time, I will be so much more productive. But can I do it? Can you?

I need to try. Studies (see here and here) show that multitasking might actually slow down your overall productivity. Being an individual who would most likely have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD – not ADHD – there’s nothing hyperactive about me, except maybe my imagination when it’s trying to freak me out) if they tested my generation while we were younger, I get distracted very easily. In fact, as I typed that last sentence, I read and answered a text message and then almost forgot what I was saying here. Yes, I am in trouble if I can’t get myself better at focusing.

Well, all I can say is I need to take a second to breathe … then I’ll figure out my next move.

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