Confessions of a Multi-Tasker


I have a problem.

At any given time, there are usually 2 dozen tabs up on my computer (between 2 monitors). I have at least 2 email boxes open. And in my taskbar sits Skype, Telegram, Slack and Wire. I’m trying to be more disciplined about keeping Facebook closed when I am trying to work.

Part of the problem is that when I first started my entrepreneurial life, I was lax in setting boundaries, believing that I would lose clients if I was anything but 100% accessible, 100% of the time. People got used to instantaneous responses. People got used to popping into Skype chat. And things very quickly got out of hand. I’ve tried a couple of different times to just not have my email open during the day and inevitably it ends up that there is some huge crisis situation that occurs right when I’ve made this decision so when I do finally log into my email, there is someone having a huge meltdown. I used to have someone I did subcontract work for and she communicated new opportunities via Facebook and I was forever missing out on them because I try to keep Facebook closed whilst I am working.

I don’t know if lack of focus is a cause or symptom. I really WANT to stay on task, but I get distracted really easily (one of the key reasons that I wanted to have my own home office space – I wanted to have somewhere that I wouldn’t be as distracted by what is going on in the rest of the apartment). I have to be pretty vigilant about keeping things in the office decluttered because it takes very little for me to be distracted by the surfaces that really should be cleared off. The flip side of that is that my space surrounds me with things that make me happy. I have Pusheens and a Grumpy cat and a Totoro… Several Lucky Cats (Maneki Neko) and other things.  I had a rare video call with a potential client one day who was positively horrified by what she saw in the camera…”Is that a MY LITTLE PONY? In your OFFICE? Where you ALLEGEDLY work??” she gasped. Yes, Ms. Potential Client. It is a My Little Pony. Pinkie Pie, in fact. But having the things I love in my office isn’t a distraction, it’s more of an emotional support group.

I think that’s another part of why traveling is difficult for me. I am so attached to and used to being surrounded by things I love, little things that reassure me that the world is ok, at least in this one tiny corner of The Universe.

I did manage to get some things done today. I kept redirecting myself to focus on what I was doing. It was pretty difficult, really, but I just kept promising myself that I could do something fun just as soon as I was done doing whatever I was working on (which was less fun). It will take time and practice to become better at being monofocused, but it’s something I’ll be working on going forward (which may actually make it easier to blog more regularly).