There is a movement going on right now by the lazy and unmotivated among you. It goes something like this:
“Multi-tasking doesn’t work. There’s no such thing as multi-tasking — your computer switches really fast from one thing to another — it just seems like multi-tasking. Therefore, if you are focusing on more than one goal at a time you are being ineffective.”
I am here to tell you that this is bullshit.
Don’t buy into the fake news pushed by these people who will achieve NOTHING in their life. They want you to make sure that you sit around on your ass and do nothing just like they do:
Set one goal — or maybe two — oh my gosh that is scary — maybe we’ll just do one. Don’t don’t do more because you are destined to fail.
While it is true that you should not work on your taxes at the same time you are doing something like, say, swimming. That does not mean — in any way whatsoever — that you should not set a 1-month goal to complete your tax return and during the same 1-month period strive to be a better swimmer!
Let’s extend the argument put forth by these slackers and their computer analogy. It is true that computer multi-tasking is unproductive. But does that mean — in any way whatsoever — that you only use your computer to do one thing?
Consider how crazy it would be if you could only use your computer — for months at a time, no less — to watch YouTube videos — nothing else. Or, how ineffective it would be if you could only use your computer — for months at a time, no less — to work on Excel spreadsheets — nothing else. Or, how boring it would be if you could only use your computer — for months at a time, no less — to listen to Pandora (not that Pandora is boring — I love Pandora and listen to it on my Amazon Echo a lot (I also do other things at other times with my Amazon Echo). What do we call that thing BTW that ONLY plays music? A radio.
You are not a radio. So, don’t listen to these fools who want you to live the slacker-lifestyle under a misguided conclusion from multi-tasking ineffectiveness.
Live the Decathlon Life
I propose that you live the decathlon lifestyle. I propose that you set decathlon-level goals.
You know what a decathlon is don’t you? Simply put ten events in two days.
If there is anything that flies in the face of the current, reactionary, set-one-goal-at-a-time movement, it is the decathlon. The events seem related only in that they take place on a track and a field. How different can you be in the training methods to master the hurdles versus the training methods to master the shot put?
(The ten events for the curious, are: the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and 1,500-meter run).
And these ten events are all done in a two-day period, packed in together, no rest for the weary, focus, pile it on, get it done.
I want to challenge you think of your life as a decathlon-like event: identify 10 or more goals on the “field of your life,” pack it in, pile it on, get it done! Completely leave these single-taskers, who are only focused on the 100-meter dash of their life, in the dust.
Why ten? You can have more than (or even less than) ten. Ten just stands out because the Greek’s created a competition with ten events. (They also had an event called a pentathlon that focused on five skills critical in battle). Now, please, you single-taskers who are reading this, please do not misread this statement and think that I in any way am endorsing your ridiculous one-at-a-time approach. I am not. Life is too complex to be reduced to a few simple focal areas, let alone one!
A colleague of mine, Andrea Brown, challenges clients and others around her to live a life of greatness. She orients her focus on life areas (directions) around her Audacious Path™ Compass:
· Intimate Relationships/Emotions
· Social Relationships
· Contribution to Community
· Continuous Learning
· Physical Environment
Did you count them? That’s twelve points on Brown’s compass! A duodecathalon. (BTW you can get the full scoop on the Audacious Path Compass plus a free workbook and audio training at: https://www.audaciouspath.com/compass).
Boston Business Coach (and more)
I do a lot. I achieve a lot. It is a fact that I accomplish more in one month than most people accomplish in a year.
I am not bragging. I am driven. I admit that.
I am a Boston-based career coach, a Boston-based business coach, and the Executive Director of a non-profit farm animal rescue. I teach Tai Chi. I am an EMT. I am a firefighter. I am an author. I am an Aflac sales agent. I am a Department of Transportation SAP (because I am also a licensed Alcohol and Dru Abuse Counselor and a Rostered Psychotherapist). I grow my own vegetables. I am currently preparing for a 270-mile hike on the Pennine Way just four months from now.
(I am way behind on current TV shows and current events).
Interestingly, these multiple focal points I attend to in my life are often a sore spot for other professionals I engage with. My Aflac colleagues want me to have the singular focus of Aflac and grow my book of business much faster than I am doing. I won’t. I have no desire to have “Best Aflac Agent” chiseled on my tombstone or have a wall of plaques recognizing me for accomplishing what Aflac thinks is important.
(I am not trying to communicate anything negative about Aflac in these statements).
I don’t want to be the World’s Best EMT either.
I am certainly not the fastest hiker.
I am far from being a great author.
I am not a Tai Chi master.
I could be thinner.
I am not great in a single area. But taken as a whole, this decathlon approach to life is a winning approach to life.
Note: athletes don’t win the decathlon competition by being great at one thing while sucking at the other nine. You actually win the decathlon by scoring the highest points which are accrued across the ten events by what seems to be an ever-evolving scoring table. (The metaphor that this changing scoring table presents could actually be another article for those people invested in keeping track of their “score”).
Pathology or Purpose?
A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend about my life and my many goals, deadlines, activities and associated stressors I have going on. (I completely acknowledge that these are self-created — I have no job — everything I do revolves around the choices and decisions I make). My friend was basking in the greatness of his retirement — hanging out, watching TV, going out for dinner, practicing his guitar, going for bike rides — and I said, “I could never do that. I have too much I want to do in my life — too many books I want to write — more emergencies to respond to — more farm animals to rescue — more seniors to teach tai chi to.”
His response was, “I wonder what the pathology is behind someone who has to be busy all of the time?”
“Pathology,” I thought quietly to myself. “Or, purpose?”
Fifteen years ago I saw a Facebook post of a family friend after she moved to a retirement community. She shared a picture of a cheese tray she had made from a used glass bottle of Kahlua liquor at one of the weekly arts and crafts meeting at the retirement community where she moved to. I downloaded that picture, emailed it to one of my best friends with the message: “If I am ever doing things like this, you come find me and shoot me.”
I knew then what I still know now: I live a purpose-driven, decathlon-level life.
And what will my tombstone say? Whether today, two months from now, two years from now or two decades from now, it will read:
“Lived life to the fullest. No regrets.”
Good luck with realizing that, single-taskers.