Compulsive Multitasker

Do you know someone who seems innately unable to focus on one thing? They can only complete a task when there are twenty others vying for attention and even then they’re flitting between them like a lizard.

You know the person I mean, you call them to ask if they want to go to the cinema, they don’t answer the call so you leave a message. They return the call from the car dashing between a meeting and the supermarket and explain they would love to go to the cinema with you, and can schedule a 2 hour slot on Thursday, between evening class and preparing for a dinner party the next day. This sliver of time means the choice of films is reduced, and while waiting in line to buy tickets, the person is checking their diary and calling their mother. By the time you wave them goodbye, you’re exhausted and wondering how they ever get anything big done when they can’t make space in their lives for one thing at a time. Well here’s the revelation:

I am that person. The only way to get me to do something is to present me with 20 harder and equally urgent tasks. There’s no need to shuffle my priorities to facilitate task switching, I will just switch. Somehow I am the embodiment of that famous phrase or saying “If you want something doing, ask a busy woman”. Give me one thing to do and no deadline, and it will probably never get done. Show me an impossible task list and I can do easily ninety percent of it. Here’s another revelation:

I like new paragraphs in the pauses I would use when speaking …. no! That’s not what I’m supposed to be saying! My next revelation is that I don’t understand why this is the case. I’m an energetic and organised person, why isn’t my throughput of tasks constant? The resources available to me are more or less constant, I’m the same person all the time, but somehow unless I’m being stretched either by workload or task complexity, I just can’t seem to keep the volume of activity up for long.

Perhaps its to do with momentum. The harder or longer your to-do list is, the more it weighs and the faster you have to go to get through everything. So once you get moving you just roll and roll. That’s my theory.

One thought on “Compulsive Multitasker

  1. I don’t know about you, but I think I get bored of regularity. Ongoing projects drain me, or at least that’s my perception.

    I’ll finish a short but sweet project, get the money in for it and I find myself thinking, “Right, what next? Oh, not that again… I’d love to be doing that instead.”

    When I’ve particularly busy though, I just get my head down and get on with it – I seem to do OK then.

    I used to be organised. Life just hasn’t allowed me to be lately, so I think I’m suffering all-round. Maybe I need to break things down and spread projects out. Maybe what I need is a plan!

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