Amanda Viviers | 98five bloggers
Multitasking does not work. I think year after year I have tried to convince myself, if I just keep running, doing and juggling I will be able to tick off my never-ending task list.
Maybe turning 40 was the catalyst and some really honest conversations with friends and mentors, but I have come to a very firm decision for 2017 — multitasking must go.
I think one of the greatest lies I have been telling myself as a Mum is that I can have it all. Just keep moving, just keep juggling and it will someday fall into place.
How are you going with your productivity?
Do you try to juggle 10 things at once and give up on the couch with Netflix?
This year I am wanting to achieve some pretty massive goals including losing weight, growing my writing skills and platform, selling books and writing three more. You may read all of this and think I’m crazy but none of these will be achieved if I keep on juggling the never-ending task list. I have decided to stop multitasking and grow my capacity to focus.
I am writing a task list on one piece of paper
Do you have a pile of unfinished journals on your bedside table? Are you running four different notes on your phone with random scratchings of to dos? I am learning to write something down on a piece of paper and step away from technology, which has been helping me refocus and move through my list with clarity. This task list has a domestic list, it has a to-do list and it also breaks my day into AM, noon and PM. The details of my day are emptied on here and I keep the same piece of paper until everything required has been followed through.
I am bringing intention to my yes and no
As a people pleaser, it is easier sometimes for me to say yes, rather than my gut instinct of no. In the initial stages of conversation around adding something to my to-do list, I am learning to ask more questions. When the conversation begins to add something to my schedule, I ask more questions. I am also learning to focus on what is in my present, spending more time thinking about today and less about tomorrow. I take time in a season to reflect and dream about tomorrow, but I take the bigger goals and cut them down to my present.
I am looking at ways to combine all my communication methods
One of the most distracting parts of my life is the never-ending contact methods that are now open to us all. Over the last week, I have been looking into ways to combine all of these together. I am also asking people to contact me via email for work communication and personally I am prioritising phone conversations over back and forward texts. My closest friends have this new method of conversation, it’s called the five-minute power catch up. We have a great chat and when the phone call is coming in we know it’s not going to be epic.
I am designing a weekly schedule that includes space and time for nothing
I have spent a lot of my holiday period looking at what my weekly schedule looks like. Across my week, I have allocated time for writing, time for exercise, one-on-one time with each of my children and home time. I love to spend time with women working on these tools in my solo one-on-one retreats. Taking time to create space and form to our weekly schedules. Writing them down somewhere really visible and re-visiting them often across our year.
I am taking one day each week to be phone free
Every Sunday, I am leaving my phone in our charging cupboard. We have a cupboard now in our lounge room that technology gets placed in each night and also on Sundays. I want to be a Sabbath seeker. Where Saturday night I place my phone away and don’t come back to it until Monday morning. It is not a rigid religious rule, it is reminding myself who is in charge of technology. Technology does not rule my life and it needs to be put in its place. I believe we have become very unfocused as a culture — where we are flitting from one thing to the next and if it doesn’t please us or interest us we move onto the next. It would be interesting to know how many people read this whole article and how many I have lost already? Yes, this is dependent on my writing skills, but also it is a massive statement about how much we multitask. Rushing from one thing to the next. We have become terrible at waiting, always switching our attention from one thing to the next. My ‘technology sabbath’ is helping me re-frame my attention span.
I am listening to an audiobook each month
Podcasts are not my strength, for no other reason than I struggle to listen to them and stay focused. However, we can train our brains. Just like our bodies can be strengthened through muscle memory, so can our brains be taught to focus on one thing at a time. When I slow myself down and begin to give my attention to one thing it grows my capacity and memory for other parts of my life. Audiobooks often go for 10 hours or more so I am learning to reinvent that space in my mind. Local libraries have an amazing selection of books and Audible is an amazing tool, especially for those who travel in the car often.
I have turned all notifications off on social media
I often have my phone on silent and when I am having a conversation, especially in a cafe with a client or friend, I turn my phone over or off. I am not sure when we all started believing that we should answer every social media comment or notification 20 to 50 times a day, but notifications are distracting and unproductive. I do not allow notifications to come onto my front screen and I do not allow my online space to interrupt my social face-to-face interactions. In fact, I am prioritising face-to-face coffee catch ups over long-winded back and forwards online. I often say, ‘can we Facetime or Skype about this, or why don’t you email me and book a catch-up.
I knit each evening
I sound like a total nana but the best part about crafting like knitting is it is not my work. Creative people need an expression that is outside of their work space to create a muse in their life. If everything you do is so focused on performance and producing, then you will easily jump from one thing to the next — ‘multitasking’ which makes you loose the strength in what you do. An inspired worker is a productive worker. If you find yourself at an inspiration dead end, then maybe you need to explore a creative pursuit that requires your focus to develop a new skill, but one that is not based on performance and evaluation.
I am trying to truly listen to conversations rather than spending time working out how to respond
We have all been there, in the middle of a conversation and realise we have no idea what the person is talking about. In the past, I have been obsessed with trying to find my voice, that often I spend time talking to understand what I am truly trying to say. I am trying to learn to be a better listener. To stop interrupting people and to breathe in the moment. Before I answer, to ask questions so I really am able to stop myself from speaking from a place of what I think people have said rather than truly hearing what they are saying. Slowing myself down. Training to listen more.
I am trying to remember to ask for help
Lastly, but far from least, is I am trying to remind myself that I do not need to do everything perfectly or alone. When I feel overwhelmed I’m learning to ask for help. One thing I have done for a long time is I never go to a speaking appointment by myself. I ask a friend to come along and in those vulnerable places where I am unsure and don’t feel ‘enough’, I share the load with someone who understands. When I share the load, my focus returns and I remember the greatest privilege of life is who I do it with not what I achieve.
Would you like to bring more focus into your 2017?
How are you bringing more intention to your everyday?
I’d love to spend time with you working on this and other life projects with my one-on-one day retreats or my yearly mentoring packages.
Let’s continue to encourage one another in doing good.
Amanda is a writer, speaker, creative coach, wife of Charl and novice Mum to Maximus and Liberty. She’s published three books and can be found in her beach shack, writing her fourth. Her daily blog is a Christian Media & Arts Australia best digital media project award winner. Amanda is a presenter on radio across New Zealand and Australia and is the co-founder of Kin Women; a network created to inspire women. Along with her husband, she is co-owner of surf brand, Maximus and Liberty. They manufacture surfboards, stand up paddle-boards and merchandise to fund youth surfing projects globally. Driven by a passion for social justice, Amanda loves supporting projects for children in developing countries. Teaching children to live creative lives, beyond the circumstances, is something she pursues daily. www.amandaviviers.com | Follow Amanda on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest
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