Organizing Your Paper, Spaces & Time 

Organized & Productive 
June, 2015    





Summer is finally here.

Lisa S. Griffith

Enjoy each moment - savor the present!

Soon enough, the season will change, and the singular beauty of fall will be upon us. The joy of living in a place where we can always anticipate a new day, a  

new season, is something to be treasured. 



The Myth of Multi-Tasking



We are an overwhelmed, over-scheduled, and distracted society. Most of us try to do more than one thing at a time, thinking that we're accomplishing twice as much in the same amount of time as just doing a single thing. Most of the time, we're deluding ourselves. Instead of doing one thing well and then moving on to the next, we do two things poorly and take more time doing it. The whole concept of multi-tasking is a myth, worsened by our obsession with all things electronic. How many of us have tried to hold phone conversations while checking out stuff on our computer or TV screens? Or tried to write something - an article or report - while trying to keep track of incoming emails? While the distraction of TV may help make mundane tasks like folding laundry less tedious, or adding music to our workout helps us go faster, longer, and stronger, most of the time doing two things at once just makes everything take more time. It causes us to make mistakes and stresses us out. 


The key to productivity is focus. When we try to work on a project while intermittently checking email, answering the phone, or surfing the 'net, we never really get into full concentration mode. Contrary to popular opinion, your brain really can't fully focus on two things at the same time. What actually happens is that your brain needs to take time to switch back and forth between each task. It may only be just a few seconds each time, but it adds up over time. It takes longer to accomplish both tasks than if you just focused on one single task until it was completed, then moved on to the next. We never really get "in the zone." Don't believe it? Try setting a timer to see how long it takes to do a task that requires concentration, while at the same time, reading emails intermittently. Then time yourself doing the two tasks separately without bouncing back and forth between the two, and add it up. You will find that your total time spent is less when you focus on each thing separately. You will avoid losing those few seconds each time your brain must switch its focus back and forth between the two. And, most likely, you will make far fewer mistakes and produce work of higher quality when you allow yourself to fully concentrate on one, single task.


Try grouping your work into short, concentrated batches - spend thirty minutes just reading and answering emails alone. Then spend one solid hour without interruption writing your report without allowing yourself to be distracted. Schedule a solid fifteen minutes to make phone calls, without trying to read email or do other work at the same time. You will be more focused, more productive, more accurate, and probably much less stressed!


I believe that the worst byproduct of our obsession with multi-tasking is the toll it takes on our living in the moment. I have found myself in many situations distracted by the compulsion to "commemorate" a particular moment by snapping a picture, or posting on social media. Whether it's a significant life event or just an everyday, mundane moment, I'm distracted, even just for a few seconds, by the task of recording it, either just for myself, or for the world to see (as if the world really cares...or needs to take note at all!) I was particularly struck by how distracted I was a few years ago when we had several big events in our children's lives - two graduations, with all the attendant celebrations, within a few days of each other. I found myself frantically trying to "capture the moment" with my phone - "ooo, gotta get that shot of her getting her diploma," "ahhh, see that smile - have to capture that face," "wait, wait - I missed that!" In the process, I realized that I was so damned busy trying to preserve everything for all time, that I was missing out on the emotions and the joy of the actual events. At one point, I was so wrapped up in trying to get the perfect shot of my daughter receiving her degree on stage (in a massive auditorium with an Iphone - so far away that the images on the screen were virtually indistinguishable,) that I actually took pictures of the wrong girl! The girl immediately before my daughter also had long, blonde hair, and without my glasses (because I couldn't focus on that tiny phone screen with them on) I snapped dozens of pictures of the WRONG KID! Afterwards, while reviewing the pictures, my daughter looked and said, "Mom, this isn't me." She swiped past picture after picture saying, "not me, not me, not me." In my frenzy to preserve the memory, I had missed the whole memory-making event. I finally just stopped, took a long, deep breath, and decided to forget trying to capture the memories with any tool other than my brain. To this day, when I think back on those times, my brightest, clearest, and most joyful memories are those in which I didn't bother to take a picture or a video. I was fully concentrated on enjoying the moment, living in the now, and my brain rewarded me with full clarity of the sights, sounds, smells and emotions of those moments. I hadn't burdened my poor, overburdened brain with more than one thing to do at a time, and I am fuller and richer for it. (And we bought the professionally taken photo of my daughter receiving her degree - the first time I actually really saw it...)


Are you constantly juggling more than one thing at a time? Are you missing the joy of the moment because you're so busy trying to capture it for posterity? Try giving your brain a break. Live in the now. Drink in the present. Concentrate on one, single thing for more than just a few seconds. The rewards will be immediate and forever!


"If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments."

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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Hear Lisa Speak

on Organizing & Productivity

South County Hospital's  

Women's Wellness Day 

Saturday, June 26, 2015
8:00 am - 3:00 pm
Newport Marriott
25 America's Cup Ave.
Newport, RI

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In order, in joy, 



Lisa S. Griffith, CPOŽ 
The Organized Way
Organizing & Productivity Specialist/Speaker 
Phone:  (401) 289-0042
Website: www.organizedway.com  View our profile on LinkedIn  Find us on Facebook