Living and Giving

Switch to Be Creative!

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Do you ever find yourself trying to do multiple things at once?  I expect we all do, sometimes.  A recent article on Fast Company, \”Work Smart: Stop Multitasking and Start Doing One Thing Really Well\” by Gina Trapani, highlights why multitasking may not be the most efficient way to get things done after all.  Here\’s a brief excerpt:

Doing two things at once, like singing while you take a shower, is not the same as instant messaging while writing a research report. Don\’t fool yourself into thinking you can multitask jobs that need your full attention. You\’re not really having a conversation while you write; you\’re shifting your attention back and forth between the two activities quickly. You\’re juggling. When you juggle tasks, your work suffers AND takes longer–because switching tasks costs.  When your brain switches its attention from one task to another, it takes time to get into a new train of thought.

What I found particularly interesting here was the emphasis on focus–on one person, on one task.  This led me to some thoughts on focus and on balance.  Here are the thoughts I shared with Gina:

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Gina, thank you so much for your important article… it really points to the fact of honoring one another and the importance of listening — not only to people but also to the task at hand.  If we don\’t, we sacrifice true attention, helpfulness and engagement. We can\’t really give our best.

The principle of devotion and attention to a specific area also applies to larger areas of interest in your life.  If you are focusing on playing piano, then you should be devoted to it and really give it your all to gain the most from practice and performance.   It\’s not something you would multi-task with, but the point is that short or longterm, we should be concentrating our full attention. 

An interesting long-term area is balance.  Here\’s where I do \’recommend a switch.\’  After being devoted to one activity, change. Have different points of interest in your life.  If we are completely focused on only one thing, we can\’t really see as many different, creative ways to approach issues. We encourage our UniversalGiving team to have outside interests, activities, and to come back to UniversalGiving refreshed.   We want to encourage people to be their \’whole\’ selves. That includes many different areas, not simply work.  It might be family, being an improviser and actress, working on your writing, or taking an international volunteer trip to learn about and serve in a different country such as Bangladesh or Tanzania.

So let\’s switch — to be creative. Of course, after we have been devoted!