Star fish can coordinate 5 arms but can they walk and eat shrimp at the same time?
Starfish and octopi are blessed with more than two arms but they are genetically engineered to be able to coordinate those multiple limbs with grace and impact but I'm not sure about what happens when they try to walk, capture food and eat all at the same time. The original reference to multi-tasking must be the old joke about "not being able to walk and chew gum at the same time." Today it would be hard to find anyone who at one time or another doesn't try to do several things all at once. It seems people worldwide have embraced the concept of multi-tasking.
I suppose there are things that we can do simultaneously but I don't think you can make your best art or your best art decisions while watching TV, talking on the phone, dealing with your children or jumping on and off your computer every 5 minutes.
Multi-tasking is a word which came into usage relating to computers being able to do multiple operations simultaneously. Guess what, according to what I've read they don't really function that way. Rather they rotate the jobs very quickly and only appears that all work is happening at once.
I recently found myself committing the last of those "sins"listed above, on the computer - off the computer. Check mail, check FB, look at Pinterest etc. At some point I realized that I was wasting a lot of time. I also realized that it was a way to avoid focusing on my work and making some hard decisions.
For about 24 hours I considered moving my computer to another spot in my house, out of my studio, but the only other place was in an upstairs room where I seldom go. This is when I had the "blinding realization" that I just needed to exercise some self control. Is it really necessary to look up every word that I don't know the minute I think of it??? Do I really need to investigate every idea that crosses my mind the second it appears??? I know people who sit in front of the TV and research the details of stories that come on the tube for entire evenings! Makes me tired.
OK, the web is wonderful. I love the direct line to world information but getting back to the point of this story, when you are in your studio you need to be present. It isn't enough to just be there physically, you have to be engaged and focused on what you are doing in order to really see all the opportunities that are in front of you and make all the big and small decisions that are required.
I decided not to move my computer but to develop a general "schedule". I come in, check my email, read a couple of blogs, do any business that is required and then it is either cut off or I may listen to music. Later in the morning I will check my email again and so it goes. Sometimes, I can't even take the music. I just want blissful silence. On those days there is no need for music.
So forget about that "badge" you're been working on for Best Multi-tasker. Think about the things in your life that interfere with your being able to concentrate on your work. You can't always control everything but you might be able to free up your mind-space even if slightly.
***My friend Judy Kirpich has a nice blog: http://unmultitasking.blogspot.com/ where she shares her life and her work. Hope you'll check it out.
***Remember the days where it was necessary to go to the library to do research.***
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