Here’s Why Multitasking Sucks

Why being bad at multitasking may be a very good thing

Are you good at multitasking? If you say, “Yes!” you’re not alone. I’ve often said I’m very good at it. Many of my friends tell me they are, too, and they do so with a great deal of pride.

This blog is about why we’re dead wrong.

lot's to do

It’s also about why being bad at multitasking may be a very, good thing.

I completely understand multitasking. When my husband once told a colleague what I do for a living (full-time job, run my own business, head up a non-profit foundation, and volunteer extensively), his friend remarked, “Oh, so you’re telling me he really hasn’t figured out what he wants to be when he grows up.”

Ouch!

One of my heroes, Marie Forleo (marieforleo.com) describes herself as a “multi-passioned entrepreneur.” I can relate. Like me, Forleo has followed a number of passions and paths to get to the level of success she enjoys today. The trick, however, is that when we multi-passioned entrepreneurs are working on one of our areas of interest we are working ONLY in that area.

That’s the key to being involved in many activities and interests:  We must be focused on only one thing at a time. We must practice mindfulness.

Forleo explains that the act of multitasking is a conflict between having a single versus a split/multiple-focus. “A split- or multiple-focus approach will slow things down – it’s obvious, but we don’t always admit it!” she teaches.

Being a consummate multitasker for years I immediately objected when I heard her say this in an interview. But, given that she has a proven track record in success I decided to try it out for myself.

For about a week I refused to attempt doing two-, three- or more things at once. To help with this, each night before bed I created a list of accomplishments for the next day, categorizing them by level of importance.

The next day I followed the list to the letter. Plugging in space for unforeseen events or circumstances helps with this. I checked and responded to email and social media once in the morning and once in the afternoon (unless a list-related action required posting). I took time to make food for myself and/or my family; no reading, use of mobile devices or TV watching during eating. I even stopped making or taking phone calls while driving, even though I have a hands-free Bluetooth system in my car.

Boy did all that slow me down! But here’s the kicker:

I got more done.

My lifelong work has been to teach others how to have a life worth living through the use of vision and mission statements. There are many points to my method in doing that, but the two most important are focus and intention. Letting go of multitasking – which I’ve also called “doing many things poorly and getting little accomplished” – allows me to re-focus my intention.

The results over the past few months have been stunning. I’m happier, more content, definitely more productive, and my blood pressure is lower.

If you’re used to multitasking and feel you’re only successful if you’re exhausted at the end of the day from completing a list, give the information in this blog some thought. What are you willing to let go of so the project or direction you want to see manifest can get there more rapidly?

Hop on over to my “Making Sense of Life” blog to leave a comment! That link is:

http://blog.terrydrewkaranen.com

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
This message may be re-printed, copied and/or forwarded without permission, as long as the content is not altered in any way and credit is given to the author.

What Do You MEAN You’re Satisfied?

Have you ever questioned your happiness? I did recently. I found my life so very settled in one special moment; I felt an overwhelming sense of contentment. Then my analytical mind took over and I wondered, Am I experiencing complacency? Why am I satisfied? Don’t I want more?

Isn’t it somewhat pathetic when we ruin an amazing experience by questioning it? I realized, in that moment of contentment, that I was experiencing what it was like to stop and to appreciate my accomplishments and blessings. In a world that admires accomplishment, we can forget to enjoy the goals we reach.

Peaceful place

We are bombarded with the idea of “more is better.” Stores want us to believe we don’t have enough of whatever it is they want to sell us. We are encouraged to buy yet another pair of jeans, a different car, or a larger home.

The advertising industry is counting on us wanting more. We are assured over and over again that if we buy this widget or get that thingamajig we will be happy. But when is enough ever “enough?”

It’s definitely possible. However, when we learn that we are in control, that we are directing our lives, it may not be quite that easy to accept. Why? Because we understand that we have the power to make the changes we desire in our lives. Change is necessary to reach our goals; we are encouraged to remember we don’t have to be stuck in anything. It’s then that we might think that being content is a sign of complacency, if only because “this was great, but could it be BETTER?”

While that’s not necessarily true, it does bring us back to the question of is enough ever really enough. Madisyn Taylor recently wrote about the topic and said this:

If we do not have the ability to be happy with the blessings we have in the here and now, nothing can make us happy in the future.

It’s by appreciating our blessings that we can move forward in life. Just because we are aware that we can create a life worth living doesn’t mean we have to feel compelled to be working at it all the time. In fact, it’s only by stepping aside and allowing Spirit do Its job that things get done. If we don’t celebrate our wins, rejoice in our accomplishments, and appreciate our blessings we will find reaching a goal rather bland.

Instead, consider celebrating your wins. If you find a dime on the sidewalk, rejoice in that additional prosperity, instead of thinking, “Well, it’s only a dime. It could have been a quarter.” If you want a different home, de-clutter and clean up the one you have and then bask in the beauty you’ve brought forward.

The more we criticize the more we’ll find to complain about. If we celebrate our accomplishments we’ll bring our consciousness to a higher level that will make complacency impossible. Would you be willing to find contentment in your life this week?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.
This message may be re-printed, copied and/or forwarded without permission, as long as the content is not altered in any way and credit is given to the author.

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Calculated Ignorance

Do you know the difference between “ignorance” and “stupidity?” I speak about this in my new book, “From the Trailer Park to the Pulpit:  How a wise grandmother shaped my life and ministry,” which is based on the outrageous sayings of my Grandma Esther. She had quite an explanation for these two words.

According to Grandma Esther, “An ignorant person you can learn. The stupid ones you just have to shoot.” She was a pretty black or white, true or false, yes or no, kinda gal. She could also be rather adamant and severe, as you can see!

While we always assumed she was kidding (though according to my mother she was a pretty good shot when there was a moving target), Grandma Esther’s quote speaks to how willing we are to hear the truth.

In a world of so-called alternative facts and conflicting news reports it can be a challenge to know what to think. Some of us choose to completely avoid all the media hype and avalanche of info coming into our mobile devices.

You may be surprised to discover there’s a name for this:  Calculated ignorance.

Karen Larson, editor of BottomLine Personal magazine recently wrote about this. She says that this common phenomenon, “according to James Shepperd, PhD, professor of psychology at University of Florida, … isn't always harmful, but when it concerns our health ... our finances ... or our relationships, it can create problems that are difficult or impossible to fix.”

So how do we know when to overcome or relax into calculated ignorance? Here are three tips from Dr. Shepperd:

  1. Consider ways in which you have some control over the situation. This will make you more willing to confront unwanted information. One recent study found that women were more likely to learn about their overall breast cancer risk if they first read about risks they could control.
  2. Consider what you value most deeply. This might be your family, your work ethic, your sense of fair play or anything else at the core of your value system. Recount things that you’ve done recently that reflect these values. Studies suggest that focusing on core values may make the information we are avoiding seem trivial in comparison.
  3. Consider why you are avoiding the information. Perhaps your fears are simply operating on autopilot and just realizing this can put you back in control.

Calculated ignorance isn’t about avoiding understanding information that we need to know, or acting on that information for our highest good. It’s about deciding just how much information we need about any given subject, or if we need that knowledge at all.

Information technology has exploded over the past two decades in ways that we never expected. With the exception of transporter technology and interstellar space travel, most of what we see on any of the starship Enterprise in any given Star Trek series or movie is already at our fingertips.

What we must recognize is that our brains have not yet evolved to keep up with technology. To attempt to absorb all that’s out there is physically impossible. We must be selective in what we seek to understand. Be mindful of that in the coming week. Is what you’re reading on your mobile device or watching on TV really necessary for you to have a life worth living?-

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Copyright © 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.

Marines Don’t Do That

Are there things you just “don’t do?” In 2013, Michael Wheeler wrote an article entitled “Marines Don’t Do That:  Mastering the Split-Second Decision.” In it, he quoted retired Marine Major David Dixon who said Marines are taught the concept of “Marines don’t do that” during their training.

It got me to thinking about how I live my own life and what I simply “don’t do.” I’m usually the one who speaks up and makes at least a few people uncomfortable if someone is telling an inappropriate joke or being discriminatory. I have no tolerance for it. I used to. I used to be afraid to speak up for fear someone might start attacking me, or making fun of me for not “being one of the boys.”

Now I’m glad I’m not one of those boys. Becoming comfortable with my sexual orientation as well as my belief in New Thought teachings – neither of which are universally accepted – has positioned me to speak out. It comes from a foundation of confidence and security, not from one of reaction, indignation or anger. Admittedly, I still feel some of those things when I witness gross injustices, but I’m not out to prove anything to anyone.

What guides your life course and your interactions with others on a daily basis? Do you allow discrimination or injustices to go on in front of you? How we deal with what we consider inappropriate behavior here in America is vastly different than in other countries, including our neighbors directly north of us. But regardless of local customs, how will we act (not react) in an unfair situation the next time it happens?

It might not be a situation of sticking up for someone else. It might be having the opportunity to disregard our own personal ethics, for example tossing our cigarette out the window, accepting more change than is due us, or ignoring someone who is differently-abled than we.

If we are truly the person we want others to believe we are, will we stand up for righteous and fair treatment of others? Or, will we remain silent while those less able to speak up are put down, embarrassed, ill-treated, injured, or killed? Will we practice what we preach to preserve our planet, or will we make excuses because we are too busy to go the extra mile?

Those aren’t easy questions to read or to contemplate. I would, however, suggest to you that they are ones we should all entertain. When faced with the hard questions of life no person of integrity turns a blind eye to the situation.

We just don’t do that.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry

#DrTerryMakingSense
#IAN1
@TerryDKaranen

Copyright © 2013, 2017 Terry Drew Karanen. All rights reserved.