Slow Motion Multitasking

Slow Motion Multitasking….

Thirty by Wassily Kandinsky

A friend suggested a Ted Talk to me the other day and I was immediately intrigued. The title is A Powerful Way to Unleash Your Creativity by Tim Hartford. She said it was about slow motion multitasking and it had a lot to do with creativity. 

Here is the link if you want to watch it. It’s about 17 minutes long. 

I love a new take on productivity and if it involves creativity, all the better! Slow motion multitasking is actually nothing new. The presenter just managed to label what is understood by most artists as “The Creative Process” or “The Insane Mess in My Studio”.

Here’s how it works. You are creating a piece of artwork, or writing a book, or composing a piece of music. Then suddenly the project comes a screeching halt. You are either stuck or bored. So, you switch gears and go back to a project that you had put on hold. Suddenly, you see it in a new light and make significant progress towards finishing it. Or, you start a new project with some ideas that have been percolating in the back of your mind. The end result is that you might have several projects going at the same time. You switch between projects in an unhurried manner, taking your time to concentrate on the new task at hand.

No, you are not an unfocused mess, you are slow motion multitasking. It’s a good thing!

I was talking to a fiber artist the other day and she was lamenting about all of the unfinished projects in her studio. I told her that she was just slow motion multitasking and it was part of the creative process. She perked right up and left with a smile on her face. My good deed for the day!

However, projects should eventually come to an end. You sign the artwork, publish the book, play the composition before an audience. I think there is some danger when all you have is  unfinished work and nothing is getting done. 

Right now, I am in the middle of a project and have a few weeks left to finish it up. It is all planned out and now it’s just grunt work to get it done. Thank God for a tight deadline otherwise I might be tempted to put it aside and get going on something new. The deadline is keeping me focused. 

But I am itching to do something else! I have a bookshelf in my studio with a bin for each unfinished project. Right now I have too many projects and not enough bins or shelves. My goal for this week is to take a little time to go through all of the projects and make some decisions about what I want to work on next. I might also decide that some projects are not holding my interest anymore and I’ll either get rid of them or store the components away in my art storage room in the basement. I would like limit how many projects I have going at one time to the number of bins I can fit on my bookshelf. 

How many projects do you have going at one time? Are they all in the same vein or wildly different from each other? Does it drive you crazy or are you at peace with the process?

Personally, I like having a label for it all and slow motion multitasking has really scratched that itch. 

You can learn more about Laura Morrison and her art at


Image: Thirty by Wassily Kandinsky, oil on canvas
Painting is located at the Musee National d’Art Modern, Centre Pompidou, Paris France
Photo Credit: Oakenchips
This image is taken from Wikimedia Commons and is in the public domain