David Allen (the GTD guy) once said there are only 2 things you have to do: what your’e doing right now, and everything else.
The first time I heard it I laughed (you probably did just now too), but as I thought about it really made a lot of sense me. No matter how many things you have to do, you really can only do one at a time. Multi-tasking is a mirage, and “business” is a fictional badge of honor that we give ourselves to justify the fact that we can’t manage our time or our priorities. The human brain was just not wired to sustain this kind of lifestyle (short-tem memory can only hold 5–9 things at any one time). Tony Schwartz wrote an excellent book titled “The Power of Full Engagement” where he talks about how we really need to manage is our energy, and when you’re attention is being pulled in a million different directions your energy is constantly being depleted – it’s very inefficient. It’s like having 25 programs open on your computer at a time. You can only use one at a time, but having them all open will kill your battery pretty quick. You can skip back and forth between your different programs, but you won’t actually get anything done that way.
Jim Elliot, the Christian missionary, once said “wherever you are, be all there”. That is my goal this year – to escape “emergency scan modality” and quit putting out fires so that I can be fully engaged in whatever I’m doing at any given time. I intend to live my life in “Full-Screen mode”, eliminate distractions and focus on what’s really important.
I don’t do New Year’s resolutions anymore, but my 3 words for the year are:
All of these (to me) revolve around the theme of being present. I need to focus on what’s important by putting in their proper place, which ultimately will allow me to enjoy my time with my 4 young boys. I don’t want to take them for granted and I don’t want to miss one opportunity to build a fort, read a story, or snuggle at bedtime. I won’t be able to make it happen 100% of the time, but I want to be fully there as much as I possibly can.
an idea I stole from the Productivityist, Mike Vardy – I highly recommend you listen to his podcast “Mikes on Mics”. ↩