Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Balance between Focus and Multi-tasking II

Lens by Craig Jewell

Lens by Craig Jewell

I wrote a piece on the balance between Focus and Multi-tasking in which I was challenging my own views (and the views of a number of personal productivity systems) on the value of multi-tasking.

I also wrote a piece last week on leaders learning skills from their teams.

These two sets of thoughts were fused marvellously at the end of this week when I was holding one of my six-monthly catch ups with one of the Madgex team where they can get anything off their chest that they haven’t managed to do in any other way.

Relatively unprompted, the person I was talking to shared their personal productivity/ processing/ time management system. Now to say that they’re highly effective and productive is an under-statement.

However, what they shared was really interesting. In summary, their perspective was that they liked to view all of their work as relatively small chunks of focused activity. They liked to take on a lot so that they always had a lot of small chunks to fill their time, but also enable them to ‘enjoy’ their work more.

By this they meant that by continually having a variety of smaller focus chunks stacked up, they were able to rapidly able to shift when either bored or stuck. Now their thinking behind the ‘stuck’ point it’s highly aligned with the views I’m reading in Guy Claxton’s Hare Brain Tortoise Mind. They recognised that when they couldn’t get past a blocker, focusing on something else enabled their intelligent unconscious or ‘undermind’ as Claxton calls it to get to work. Invariably, they suggested, by the time they had got back to the original challenging piece of work they would have become unstuck….

When I asked about addressing the ‘frogs’: the big, chunky, important pieces of work, they replied simply that they viewed all work as being capable of being sliced up into smaller focus chunks.

Part of the conversation made me start to think again about what draws us to the easy, ‘less-challenging’ activity before the more difficult (as perceived in advance), and I hope to cover this next week.

All in all though, a brilliant (proven) example of two things that had been occupying me. And a great benefit for me as I’m personally exploring how I can use the smaller focus chunks. Thanks from a distance…..

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One thought on “Balance between Focus and Multi-tasking II

  1. That’s it – I’m subscribing to your post – lol. This is a great article. I’ve found that focused multi-tasking helps me as well. With several projects going at once, laser-beam focus and effective planning makes multi-tasking quite enjoyable.


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