Focus is an interesting thing
It is very useful. It is often the difference between the failure and success of a project.
I am a man.
I work on a lot of projects with a lot of women and the ability to multitask is a subject that crops up. A lot.
There are a lot of opinions on who can and can’t do more than one thing at once. Most of them seem to be gender based.
I like to work on one thing until its done and then move on to the next. In my office, this is usually met with a lot of eye rolling and weapons grade tutting from the lovely women in my team.
…apparently, if I were a woman, I would be able to do more than one thing at once…
Not only is the ability to multitask not a gender thing. Its not a thing.
Nobody can multitask….so stop trying!
“Multitasking is just rapid attention switching. And that would be a useful skill, except it takes us a second or two to engage our focus. So the sum total of our attention is actually decreased as we multitask. Slicing your attention, in other words, is less like slicing potatoes, than it is like slicing plums, you always lose some of the juice.”
– David Weinberger, The Cluetrain Manifesto
We have all had infuriating telephone conversations with people that are clearly doing something else while they are talking to us. (Not that we would ever do something like that).
Their responses are often vague and lacking insight or detailed content. Often they have to re-check details with us and we have to tell them again what we have only just told them.
How does it feel to talk to them?
Do you want to be that guy…?
If it were possible to do more than one thing at once, this situation would never happen.
Is that a little doubt you are feeling as you read this. If really think you can multitask, try reading a book and writing one at the same time.
Best of luck!
The simple fact is this.
We can tell when someone is present and when they aren’t. And we hate it when they aren’t. They sound distracted and vague and conversations like these are rarely compelling..would you try to build a valuable relationship with anyone who isn’t at the very least paying attention?
No. Nor would I.
- To do anything worthwhile, you need to focus on it.
- If you are planning a business, or any project, you will need to get people involved, either as customers or collaborators. To get people involved, you will need them to feel valued.
So stop doing too much at once…be absolutely present with the ONE thing that you are doing..and let your real voice be heard…
Thank you for reading, I would love to read your opinions in the comment section.
For more information on how to find your voice, visit my blog at www.neilsimpson.info/blog
Image by “jesadaphorn” at Freedigitalphotos.net
About Neil Simpson
Following a 15 year career as a freelance performer in professional dance, film and unprofessional comedy, Neil retired in 2001 and has since built a career assisting creative businesses grow by helping them turn their ideas into money.
Specialising in ideation, branding and social media particularly within small businesses Neil has worked with creatives in the UK and internationally, has won a national award for film making and is a published author.