Are You A Multi Tasker?

It’s true to say that most of us find it hard to focus on more than one thing at a time, although in reality we are constantly having many things going on at once and coping with them very well.  Most of those things are handled in our sub conscious mind and we don’t even realise we are doing them.  Some are born of habit, others a natural reaction to the things around us.

But what I am talking about is consciously doing two or more  things at the same time.  For example, I can’t have the telly on when I’m reading, and I find it difficult to have a conversation while I’m driving (unless it’s mindless motorway driving or somewhere I’ve been so many times I know the route off by heart!)  I can’t chat while I negotiate junctions or roundabouts – it’s just a fact of my life.

Last night I found myself on two webinars at the same time.  It was the most bizarre experience.  I desperately wanted to attend both live and not have to make do with the replays, so I logged on to one on my main computer and the other on my laptop which was sitting on a side table alongside me.

I have to say I would not have done this had I not known half the content of each webinar before hand, I was hoping that the content that was unique to me would come at different times on each webinar, and it did!  I was able to interact on both and furiously made notes at the appropriate times.

As bloggers we have to give ourselves credit for our ability to multi task all the time.  Do you carry a notebook and jot down ideas and inspiration when it comes to you?  Just because you are in the park playing with your children doesn’t mean a small part of your consciousness isn’t looking for that creative opportunity.

At a dinner party with friends?  How many of you have jotted down an idea on a stray till receipt from your pocket while you have a cigarette break then manipulated the discussion around the table to further develop your idea?

If you are a serious blogger part of your conscious self will be working on your business the whole time.  Whilst this is, to a certain extent, a good thing, you do have to learn to switch off from time to time and do just one thing that does not involve work and helps you to relax.  Life isn’t all about business and we don’t have to multi task all the time.

36 Comments

  • anshul

    Reply Reply September 4, 2012

    Hi Mandy!
    in my view i can’t do multitask at a same time.you said right that the parents are talking in the park and their children are playing that the talk and observation on their children activity but if parents are busy in their talking so sometimes it can not be happen that two works are occur in same phase.
    thanks for joining the blog………

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 4, 2012

      Hi Anshul, thanks for visiting. I think you probably don’t realise when you are doing it, Anshul, as I don’t always, but I seriously can’t have two intrusive things going on at once. like trying to work on the computer with the radio on. It just doesn’t work for me.

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Kelvin Myles
    Twitter:

    Reply Reply September 4, 2012

    Hi Mandy,

    Multi tasking is a really interesting subject and one I’ve looked at many times. The vast majority of people can’t/don’t multi task – they task switch (there is a fascinating article here http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95256794).

    That being said I frequently find myself watching two webinars at a time but now I record them as well as it’s very easy to miss important points on one while making notes on the other.

    Whether your main business is blogging or something else there are always thoughts that pop into your head – the important thing is to do as you do and make a note of them before they disappear.

    Another thing I try and do is reflect on what caused that idea to pop into my head to understand what triggered it.

    I also like to get in some down time whether that is just sitting in the garden with a cup of coffee or wandering along the local riverbank – there is nothing better for clearing your ‘head noise’ than relaxing.

    Thought provoking article Mandy, thank you.

    Kelvin
    Kelvin Myles recently posted..Improve Your Success – Lock Up Your Credit Card!My Profile

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 4, 2012

      Hi Kelvin, thanks for visiting. That’s a really important point you’ve made there, reflecting on what spurred your moment of inspiration. I don’t think I have ever consciously done that. I am going to try it now you’ve mentioned it though! Thanks for sharing.

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Julie
    Twitter:

    Reply Reply September 4, 2012

    Hi Mandy,

    Finally got over to you. Been meaning to do so after reading your wonderful posts on Barry’s blog. Anyways, here now.

    Multi-tasking! I do it often, mind- don’t know if I would have kept up with the two webinars. I think it’s definitely a girl thing though. Just the other morning one of my boys came through to the kitchen to get come cereal, I say ‘good morning’ – no reply, I repeat, ‘good morning’, he then comes back with – ‘yes, I was doing something! Do you except me to do two things at once?’ Okay, so it was 6:45am, but still!

    As you’ve said though, it is a good idea to get into the habit of just fully concentrating on the one task at a time.

    Good topic Mandy, thanks
    Julie
    Julie recently posted..Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!My Profile

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 5, 2012

      Hi Julie, thanks for visiting. I have read often that men are far worse at it than women. I guess your story proves the point! Great to see you here, Julie.

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Kim Stanbrook
    Twitter:

    Reply Reply September 4, 2012

    Certainly scary this one, as I find myself multi tasking most of the time. I can be in meeting and planning some content while eating a snack drinking some water and nodding my head! Must be time for a holiday!
    Kim Stanbrook recently posted..Network Marketing Business – Top Tips For Getting Valuable ReferralsMy Profile

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 5, 2012

      Hi Kim, thanks for visiting. I think we all know when it’s time to stop mutli tasking and concentrate on our health and vitality, don’t we!

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Suzanne Glathar
    Twitter:

    Reply Reply September 4, 2012

    Hi Mandy,
    Yes I definitely know what muti-tasking is, actually I think I learned the skill very well as a nurse. But i also think women are born the the inate ability to multi task with children and the home.

    I find my brain trying to multi-task when I am trying to sleep and all sorts of ideas are popping up.

    I am quite impressed that you are able to listen to 2 webinars at once. I am a heavy note taker so it woruld never work for me.

    Thanks for the article.

    Suzanne

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 5, 2012

      Hi Suzanne, thanks for visiting. I did struggle a bit at one point in the webinars, but mostly they fitted quite well together, when one was talking about something I already knew the other was talking about something new, so it worked ok. I did take notes, but both were a pretty introductory and I’d heard the story from the hosts before so didn’t need to hear it again.

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • richa

    Reply Reply September 5, 2012

    Hey Mandy

    We all are multitasking at some point or the other. I am listening to music, while writing this comment :p..Our mind is always thinking about something or the other even while we are engaged in a specific task. So I would say, yes, i am one of those many.

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 5, 2012

      Hi Richa, thanks for visiting. I find it hard to have music on when I’m writing. I don’t know if I’ve always been like this but certainly am now.

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Aayna

    Reply Reply September 6, 2012

    Hi Mandy,
    Multitasking is the basic ingredient of life these days as the life is so hectic and the schedule never allows us to focus on one task at a time. We are indeed required to indulge in multitasking. I personally think that even when I am busy doing a particular thing, my mind keeps working on how to arrange time and resources to do the next task on my to do list. Thanks for this great share.

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 6, 2012

      Hi Aayna, thanks for visiting. Yes, I believe you are right and we have made multi tasking a habit that enables us to do it when we aren’t really noticing.

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Jon Barry
    Twitter:

    Reply Reply September 6, 2012

    Hi Mandy

    Multi-tasking eh?

    We we are driving around, as we stop for a few minutes here and there I am writing this and reading other blogs…..

    I am lucky enough that most of the time I have a tablet connected to the internet on me, so most ideas can be put straight into my blog as a draft post….

    I do need a backup system though, as I had a great title for a project, and have lost it…..

    What we have to watch out for though, of course, is are we doing multiple tasks badly?

    In reality, is this quicker? Sometimes it is better to do one job properly, and quickly, then the next. All jobs done well, and can be quicker.

    In your case, no option, and glad it worked out for you!

    Many could not. In fact, I have some friends who, should I ask more than one question in a text message only answer one…..

    I feel this is something we can just do, or not do. We may be able to enhance it, but I feel we need the ability there to start with.

    Where ideas come from, they can come from anywhere!

    When I was designing you could be watching tv and the slightest thing could inspire you, and everyday life offers so many examples we can use for our writing!

    Posted By Jon Barry of http://JonBarry.co.uk
    Jon Barry recently posted..Blog-Cycling … A How To Guide For Making Your Words Travel Further!My Profile

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 6, 2012

      Hi Jon, thanks for visiting. Good for you! It’s great to be able to tailor your day to your needs, but I do understand what you are saying about completing one task well rather than two in a mediocre way. Very good point.

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Ryan Biddulph
    Twitter:

    Reply Reply September 7, 2012

    Multi-tasking is OK provided you don’t multi-task 😉 Be prepared to shift gears in a second and shift back a second later. Like being at the park exercising. You attract a creative idea. Record it in a notepad instantly. Then back to exercise.

    You devoted your mind to separate tasks in a step by step fashion. If you attempted to think about exercising and recording the idea at once, you would likely forget the idea instantly and maybe stumble while jogging lol….maybe not that extreme, but when you try to do 2 things at once you dissipate your precious focus and power, and neither winds up being an effective act.

    Thanks for sharing Mandy!

    RB
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..Network Marketing Training – 4 Things to Do When the Internet CrashesMy Profile

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 7, 2012

      Hi Ryan, thanks for visiting. Good point about swapping from one to the other. It just overlaps a little then and you can give your focus and attention to one thing at a time.

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Joy

    Reply Reply September 7, 2012

    Hi Mandy, I must say that I’m quite good at multi-tasking without compromising the quality of my work and I do this mostly when I have a deadline that I urgently need to meet. Thanks for the share 🙂

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 7, 2012

      Hi Joy, thanks for visiting. I’m glad to hear you can multi task effectively! Deadlines are a real spur to get you working harder and more effectively and often at those times it is essential to multi task, isn’t it.

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Kristine

    Reply Reply September 7, 2012

    Being a mom and a telecommuter at the same time can be stressful so I have learned to master the art of multi-tasking to attend to the needs of my daughter and my business 🙂 I must warn you though that it’s very challenging to work with a toddler around! Thanks Mandy, it’s always a pleasure to be here 🙂

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 7, 2012

      Hi Kristine, thanks for visiting. I guess mums do learn to multi task pretty quickly!

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Jeevan Jacob John

    Reply Reply September 7, 2012

    Multi-tasking.

    I think it is good and bad, depending upon the situation (Again, it is very subjective because it’s about how we perceive the situation to be).

    Multi-tasking is good because it can help us to get more things done (Then again, we focus less on each task, our work is divided so the yield or output we get may not be as much as we expected, which causes us to do more work in the long term, right?).

    But, with small tasks – such as walking and thinking about ideas are alright, because walking doesn’t need much attention – of course, it needs energy.

    I am a multi-tasker – everyone in this world is, to an extent, right?

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 8, 2012

      Hi Jeevan, thanks for visiting. Very good point you have made about perception, and yes, we do all multi task at times, mostly without realising. It’s when we have to consciously do two seperate things at once that it can get disorientating and you are right, standards of production can fall.

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Janelle Wright
    Twitter:

    Reply Reply September 11, 2012

    Hi Mandy,

    I enjoyed reading your post and learning about your many talents 🙂
    Two webinar’s going at once, you’re genius!

    It is funny how multi-tasking is always perceived as such a useful skill in the work place, however, when you are able to be laser focused you produce far more productive results.

    I like the idea of task swapping like Ryan suggested, because, essentially you can only do one thing at a time.

    Janelle
    Janelle Wright recently posted..Sitting In A Tree With Something To Say…My Profile

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 12, 2012

      Hi Janelle, thanks for visiting. Yes, laser focusing is by far the better option, I do know, but I feel multi tasking is something we all have to do sometimes.

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Abhishek

    Reply Reply September 12, 2012

    Hi Mandy, I think as a blog owner and small business operator one has to multitask in order to survive. One has to be a writer, a marketing expert, customer service representative and accountant as well and may be much more – owning a small business teaches a lot many things which a person in a full time job can never learn…thanks for this wonderful post

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 12, 2012

      Hi Abhishek, thanks for visiting. You are right. If you run your own business either offlin or online you do have to multi task all the time. It can be a headache, yes.

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Adrienne
    Twitter:

    Reply Reply September 13, 2012

    I tried attending two webinars at one time once Mandy and I couldn’t do it. I can’t listen to both of them and absorb the information that I need to know. I’m also like you, I can’t read when something is going in the background. Now I can drive and talk although I rarely do that.

    My Dad use to joke with me that I could run rings around the ladies he worked with. I would get three things accomplished before they ever finished one. Having been an executive assistant my working career life, I was a multi-tasker. Yes, that means doing several things at one time but it’s like being on the phone dealing with one problem while handing another on the computer while someone is standing at your desk asking about something else. For some strange reason I was able to handle all of those at that time.

    I prefer just focusing on one task at a time now, maybe it’s because I’m older and I just prefer concentrating on one thing at a time. Either way I seem to get everything done okay.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted..Why You Are Not Successful On FacebookMy Profile

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 13, 2012

      Hi Adrienne, always a pleasure to see you here, thanks for visiting. I did have a good idea what the two webinars would contain so I was able to only half listen to some of each as I’d heard the introductory stories before.

      I think when we work somewhere for a long time there is a part of us that goes into overdrive and manages everything seemingly at the same time. It’s a real talent and not something everyone can do.

      I’m with you, I like to do one thing at a time now.

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Mitch Mitchell
    Twitter:

    Reply Reply September 15, 2012

    When I was much younger multi-tasking was a very easy thing for me to do and I learned better that way. These days, I find that for the most part if I multi-task I fail. The only time it works is that I can have music playing and concentrate on other things easily enough, and sometimes it’s imperative that I have music playing in the background. Other than that, I just can’t do it anymore.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..5 Problems With Guest Posting/Writing RequestsMy Profile

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 16, 2012

      Hi Mitch, thanks for visting. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there, Mitch. Age certainly does seem to prevent multi tasking effectively!

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Jessica Johnson

    Reply Reply September 21, 2012

    I find myself never multi-tasking but I need to. I think working on my conscious self should be a priority — thanks for the write-up!
    Jessica Johnson recently posted..How to Increase Your FICO Score 50 Points in 30 DaysMy Profile

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 21, 2012

      Hi Jessica, thanks for visiting. It’s a great skill to have, but sadly one that eludes me!

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

  • Mys Palmer
    Twitter:

    Reply Reply September 21, 2012

    Hey Mandy,

    I know it’s been a few since I stopped by. But I’m getting back to my regular engagement schedule and of course i had to give your site some luv!

    Multi-tasking, uhm, I don’t write and watch TV or listen to music. I don’t like talking on the phone while driving or watching a good show, and I don’t like cooking with a bunch of distractions.

    That last one though, oh yea. I do that all the time. have an idea and manipulate a conversation to develop it. Pull over to take notes on an idea. Inspiration doesn’t wait! We have to stay ready. But downtime is crucial too.
    Mys Palmer recently posted..The 3 things you should never blog withoutMy Profile

    • mandyallen.com

      Reply Reply September 22, 2012

      Hi Mys, thanks for visiting. I loved it when you said you don’t like cooking with a load of distractions! If people come round for dinner my partner has strict instructions to keep all guests in the living room and not let them ‘keep me company’ while I cook!

      Enjoy the journey.

      Mandy

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field

CommentLuv badge