Hello Reader. Multi-tasking! It’s a pattern many of us practice and learned early on. We were told it makes us more efficient, more productive and eventually more influential. I actually find myself slipping into multi-tasking, especially if I’m on a phone call in my office and while talking I can also provide a quick response to an email, or take care of filing too. Not the best service. At home it can get more intense for me as I put in a load of laundry, prep dinner, and pay bills all while tossing the dog’s toy for him.
But multi-tasking is a lot like work-life balance…it’s a lie. Really. And we need to stop ourselves.
The problem with multi-tasking is it forces our brain to move from one thing to the next without remaining focused on one thing. We also don’t typically see those around us, so we aren’t really present. Sure that sounds efficient for task management, but it creates that lack of focus for both work and relationships. Focus is needed for providing the best effort and the best care in relationships.
When we can’t maintain focus, we lose out in the big picture.
One additional challenge with multi-tasking is for some of us it can lead to workaholism. It’s not just a buzzword. While it’s also not a diagnosable disorder, the effects of it are diagnosable.
Like Multi-Taskers, Workaholics are not necessarily producing the best work or are any more engaged at the office than their colleagues, the University of Georgia meta-analysis found.
Malissa A Clark, an assistant professor of industrial and organizational psychology at the University of Georgia, led the study. She says, “workaholics reported greater job stress, lower job satisfaction, lower life satisfaction and more burnout.” (Are you a possible workaholic? Check the scale and then call a professional.)
Honestly, that was me several years ago. Then I saw the value of my soul and the value of relationships vs the value of productivity and efficiency.
Back to multi-tasking and building focus…
The benefit of multi-tasking is sure you get more tasks accomplished. You will cross more things off your list. That can leave you more free time for more fun or connecting with real people.
However, if you would like to tackle those tasks by also adding to their value, then focus on one at a time to help you think outside of your typical task focused box.
Get yourself to focus!
Focus is a whole-person goal that can be influenced by your behaviors, thoughts, nutrition, stress level and overall brain health. In order to stay on track and hit your goals, it’s critical to be healthy overall more often than not.
The following Focus Robbers and Boosters come from Dr. Daniel Amen, www.AmenClinics.com.
Focus Robbers: Brain disorders, infectious causes, poor gut health, hormonal issues, low or erratic blood sugar, anemia, brain trauma, environmental toxins, some medications, chronic stress, untreated past emotional trauma, bad brain habits, poor sleep routines, poor exercise routines, chronic use of alcohol or other drugs, negative thinking patterns, self-shaming
Let’s eliminate and treat the focus robbers. At the same time, let’s develop and maintain the healthy focus boosters.
Focus Boosters: Rule our medical causes by discussing with a skilled medical provider, increase healthy meditation, trade coffee for green tea, consider vitamin supplements and probiotics along with prebiotics to heal your gut, plan for sleep, have frequent small meals to maintain blood sugar, get treatment for depression or anxiety or negative thinking patterns, exercise regularly at healthy levels for your body and nutrition, optimize any needed hormone deficiencies, plan for healthy social interactions
Putting all these Focus Boosters into practice will take effort. It will not be easy either, especially if you brain or body is entrenched in the focus robbers. But it will get easier and typically after 1-2 weeks you will see increased and consistent focus.
As a result, you will typically also see an increase in energy as well. Awesome, right?!
Remember that “buzz” that comes from multi-tasking? Well, it’s either an adrenaline, low blood sugar, or stress buzz. It’s not really healthy for us on a regular basis, day-in and day-out.
But the hum of the new rhythm of establishing focus will be healthy for you and those around you.
SO want to see an increase of focus, effectiveness, creative problem solving, analytical thinking, and energy? Apply the focus boosters! You will truly be proud of your work and also be present with those around you too.
Connect with me and let me know how it goes!
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
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