The F word. No, the other one.

f

You will never reach your destination if you stop

and throw stones at every dog that barks.

Winston Churchill

How many times have you heard the word “multitasking” during the past five years? I could bet you a hundred that the count would be over 9000 a couple thousand. And I think that we’ve been doing it all wrong.

I’ve found a good example to demonstrate this fallacy: birds and flying. When we say that “birds can fly” we usually mean that they flap wings in order to ascend and thrust themselves through the air. But it’s not the flapping that allows them to fly – flapping is just a tool, a pre-requisite to flying. Birds fly because they can manipulate the air currents to their own gain, and they use their bodies for this purpose – some to fly from tree to tree, even branch to branch, and some to cross oceans and travel between continents.

And it’s the same with multitasking. People who are good multitaskers in fact are good in something else. That have developed a far more important and versatile skill. They developed focus.

Let’s set a certain timeframe, in which we have to write an e-mail, cook a meal, make two important phonecalls, organize office procurements and pick up the kids from school. Now, if we were to look at what has happened outside of that timeframe, it would seem like the multitasking is real – and indeed, to make all of this happen , say, before dinner seems like a legitimate feat. But if we were to adjust the scopes and measure the activities not by days, lunches or evenings, it would become clear that we are able to do only one thing at each and every particular moment of time. And it’s the ability to put everything else aside while simultaneously doing one particular thing after another that labels the person a “multitasker”.

So, in fact, multitasking does not exist. What does exist is a combination of correct time management, the inner harmony of a person with the activity being performed at the particular moment and a highly developed “do not distrurb” mechanism used with extreme precision. These are the skills we should all strive to master, and these are the principles we should encourage in those around us. These things are truly worth focusing on.

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The F word. No, the other one.

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