Stress blog

Think multitasking saves you time? Think again

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. August 31, 2011

Need more help?

If the stress in your life is more than you can cope with, get help right away.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Go to the nearest hospital or emergency room
  • Call your physician, health provider or clergy
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    www.nami.org
    1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

We're always reminded, especially in our younger years, of the importance of staying focused and not getting distracted. I write about this frequently in this blog, but sometimes I don't follow my own advice. Let me explain.

A short while ago, I was invited to speak before a professional audience. As happens on occasion, one or two colleagues came up to the stage and asked if they could have my presentation on a USB flash drive. Of course I agreed. The procedure to do this is somewhat complicated and requires some focus on my part.

As I was trying to accommodate this request, another colleague came up to me and asked some very complicated questions. When my computer nearly melted down, I realized that I couldn't simultaneously complete the task and respond to questions. I then had to spend precious time dealing with the technical tsunami I'd created for myself.

Let me give you another example of why staying focused is so vital. A week or so ago, my wife and I had blocked out several hours on our calendars to pack and prepare for a trip. Despite that, we both accepted a number of other commitments for this time. We became distracted. We lost focus and energy and, as a result, we failed to follow some basic rules of travel, such as making sure we had our passports, confirming flight times, and so on. As you can imagine, our trip was punctuated by a number of misadventures.

These experiences served to remind me of the importance of protecting my time so that I can focus on the task at hand. Some lessons take repeating, I guess. Can anyone relate?

With

Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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8 Comments Posted

Aug. 31, 2011