The Balance between Focus and Multi-tasking
I commented yesterday on the challenging tension between multi-tasking and focus on GTD Times. I referenced how I use Mark Forster’s Do It Tomorrow methodology (see blogroll) to enable as much focus as possible during day to day working.
What’s been nagging at me has been catalysed by my reading of Guy Claxton’s Hare Brain Tortoise Mind.
In the book Guy argues that our ‘intelligent unconscious’ is a sophisticated nervous system that gets to know the world by the idiosyncrasies of our own experience: ‘a brain is plastic: it transmutes ignorance into competence….. categories and concepts are distilled from particular encounters so that, by a process of spontaneous analogy, ‘what I do next’ can be informed by records of ‘what happened before”.
It ‘registers its patterns and develops and coordinates skillful responses’
And so it is this last comment that makes me challenge my own devaluation of reactive multi-tasking (type 2. activity in the multi-tasking and focus post on GTD Times) vs. the power of focus. Maybe we are developing into a new breed of multi-tasking/ multi-information source managing ‘hyper-executives’ who have to rapidly shift focus and work type to keep with the pace and the requirements of modern business. As David Allen says ‘It’s all the work’
Ironically guilty of conscious/intellectualised labelling and categorisation, I need to recognise the necessary balance between all types of work.
Or do I? I’m left with an image of two breeds evolving. The thoughtful/ contemplative strategic CEO and the ‘hyper-executive’ Chief Operating Officer (COO) who just gets things done….?