Everyone multi-tasks. We talk on the phone while doing the dishes. We check our email while standing in line. We listen to podcasts or books-on-tape while exercising. All of that is perfectly normal and no big deal.
What I find to be the most dangerous kind of multi-tasking is when I flit from one thing to another. I work on something for a tiny bit, then on another thing, then another thing. Before I know it, several projects are going and NOTHING is actually getting done even though I feel I’ve been VERY, VERY BUSY! This has been a big problem for me my whole life.
A few years ago, I chose FOCUS as my Word-of-the-Year. Then I promptly forgot about it until mid-year when I wondered to myself, what was my word again? Oh yeah…it was Focus.
The irony of it all was not lost on me so I really started to focus on focusing! Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. I would usually hit that third task in my multi-tasking downward spiral before I would catch myself. In any case, I worked hard on single-tasking for important projects for the remainder of that year and was beginning to see some success in breaking my multi-tasking habit. So much so that I chose FOCUS as my Word-of-the-Year the following year.
One of my issues this year has been working on a big project with my friend and collaborator, Gail Smuda. I took on a big chunk of time-consuming embroidery and it was my intention to work on it a little bit most days which just hasn’t happened. The problem is that the piece is very large (9’ x 4’) and I have to work at a big table set up in my small studio. When I’m done, I have to take it down so I have room to work on other projects. It’s a pain and it’s been taking me so long that now it is really nagging at me. I have got to get it done so we can move on to finish our project!
Which brings me back to FOCUS. A couple of weeks ago I finished a sculpture I have been working on for some time. I have another sculpture that is almost done and my tendency would be to spend most of my studio time working on the sculpture and only a little bit of time on the embroidery project. Instead, I’ve set the sculpture aside and decided to make it wait until the embroidery is DONE! I’ve set up the project and I am not taking it down until I finish. This has been great because now every spare minute I have, I am embroidering and making good progress on the piece. FINALLY!
(Full confession…I am doing a bit of multi-tasking while I work. I have my computer set up to watch Netflix while I work. I decided to only watch Grey’s Anatomy while I embroider. I am now almost done with Season Three and think I have about three more seasons to go! )
My friend gave me until the end of the year to finish the project. She has been very patient considering her portion of the work has been done for months! I really don’t want to drag it out to the end of the year and now that I’m seeing some good progress, it has really motivated me to work on it more.
Plus…I’m kind of hooked on Dr. Dreamy in Grey’s Anatomy!
You can learn more about Laura Morrison and see her art at LauraMorrisonArt.com