Multi-task. I never understood why so many companies looked for this attribute in people they hired. It always irked me when they asked me this on interviews. No, I don’t multi-task. It’s not a good way to work. I focus on the urgent project on my list of things to do, and then I work my way down the list. I’m always focused on the task at hand, I do not allow other things to pull my attention from the job I’m doing, because that’s when mistakes get made, and that feeling of being overwhelmed takes over. I always proudly told them I “managed my time efficiently.”
Well, apparently, that’s not a good thing either! Who knew? Maura Nevel Thomas knew, that’s who! She knew that managing your attention was the right way to “get the job done.” I was using the wrong wording, apparently. What I considered managing my time, was actually me managing my attention, so I was doing ONE THING RIGHT. However, I was also doing many things wrong. After reading Personal Productivity Secrets, I now know, I was one of those people who tended to put the “trivial tasks” at the top of my list, and all the meat and potatoes at the bottom of my list, of things to do. NOT ANYMORE!
When I worked in an office, whether it was my early years as a bookkeeper, or later in life, in Marketing, I never answered my phone when it rang. I was yelled at, reprimanded, and told I’d be fired. My answer to them when the bosses would start their tirades: Do you want the work done well, or do you want me to be on the phone all day, and the work is done half-assed? You decide, because I get paid every week, regardless of the quality of my work. Usually they didn’t know how to answer that, it totally floored most of them, and then I’d get an email telling me to get the work done well.
Don’t get me wrong, I would always check my messages, but it was on MY SCHEDULE. It wasn’t on anyone else’s schedule. HOWEVER, my email was a completely different story. I was always on the computer, so when an email popped up, I just opened it, read it, and either it got done immediately, or I marked it as UNREAD, and tended to it later. BIG MISTAKE. For me to get the most out of my day, I should have been doing the same thing with my email, as I was doing with the phone. Ignoring the emails, or at least not allowing them to download automatically throughout the day, and checking them on MY TIME. I still got my work done well, it just got done a little later, thanks to those dang emails! DRAT. I thought I was so smart.
I’m not going to give away all of the “secrets” of the Empowered Productivity™ System, Ms. Thomas would shoot me! Just know, simple things that we do each day, SABOTAGE our productivity. None of the techniques she offers are going to cause you to want to off yourself, because of the huge change it will bring to your daily routine. You can make super simple changes, like turning off the automatic push on your email system, and manually go in there at a designated time each day to download them yourself, sort through them with her amazing T.E.S.S.T.™ decision process, and regain control of your ATTENTION, which will then bring you much more TIME to do things you really want to do with your kids, or husband, or dog. Whatever. You know what I’m getting at.
It blew my mind to learn of all the various tools within my own computer programs, that will help me keep my “head” together. I’m a Mac person, but my phone is Droid. It’s a little bit harder for me to sync things, but I had no idea of all the tools that were available to me to make my life run smoother – even with a Mac! Ms. Thomas takes great pains to show Mac users, PC users, and tech haters, what it means to be able to coordinate your life with simple things right on their computers – all of them working together. Calendars, task lists, and more!
I’m a visual person, so when you look at my desk, I have everything in front of me in piles. TOTALLY NOT PRODUCTIVE. Now, I have a way to not have to rely on SEEING THINGS in order to remember I need to get something done. Now, I have to implement it. Slow and steady wins the race, so little by little, I make changes, acclimate to the changes, and move to the next one. It’s rather easy, she takes you step by step through everything, and I have no fear I will be, for the first time in my life, truly organized in my “home office.” As well as in my “head.”
If you are feeling completely overwhelmed, it’s the book I would head to Amazon.com, use your gift cards you got from redeeming free points you’ve earned, and PURCHASE IT!