I Do, I See

Wonderful Weekends

It wouldn’t be a wonderful weekend without this guy…

I love a good weekend.

And for quite a while now, they’re the only kind I’ve been enjoying.

Ever since I decided to shut the laptop and switch the smartphone to silent come Friday night, I’ve enjoyed weekends more than ever.

I’ve discovered that I’m more productive from Monday to Friday after two work free days; I’m more motivated and more refreshed when it’s time to get stuck back into it.

I’ve realised that no matter how much you love something – writing, social media, Internet surfing – that a little break each week results in a much less stressed, more content working week. And so that’s how I treat my weekends, as treats. That I’ve earned. And don’t need to feel guilty about. The biggest thing I’ve learnt is that if you can’t finish your work in five days of the week, you’re either incredibly overloaded or incredibly ineffective.

Belgrave’s End of the Line Festival, featuring a sneaky snap of Des the Wizard.

This weekend started – after morning chats in bed with Kaz – by popping into the Selby Fire Brigade Fair, followed by breakfast at the Kallista Tea Rooms, then some sunshine-filled meandering around our local Belgrave where the End of the Line Festival was in full swing. After ducking off to my new hairdresser for a much needed trim, I spent some time sitting on the deck, reading the papers, soaking in some sunshine. A spontaneous decision to head to the pools resulted in some refreshing splish, splosh, splashing. Then it was back home for a BBQ and creating some tasty Japanese dishes using my Saori Sauces I picked up that morning at End of the Line. Saturday night was spent relaxing, reading, catching up with the in-laws (and catching up on some much needed zzzzzs).

Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

On Sunday, after a French toast and berry compote breakfast feast, Kaz and I headed to Fitzroy to prepare for the All India Radio ‘Red Shadow Landing’ album launch. Kaz has been playing with the band for a few years and their ambient rock music is truly exceptional. And by preparing I mean that Kaz was unpacking the car and setting up for sound check, and I was wandering the streets and window shopping.

All India Radio ‘Red Shadow Landing’ Album Launch.

The best plate I’ve ever seen.

I murdered some lunch at The Workers Club whilst chatting with the lovely guys from the band, then enjoyed the gig. That was followed by dinner at Little Creatures Dining Hall with friends, where this small feast was devoured:

Hand-cut chips and hummus with flat bread.

Rocket, beetroot, feta, broad-bean and walnut salad.

Prawn and prosciutto + potato pizza.

Cinnamon doughnuts.

And so, a full and fun weekend, that was also relaxing, resulted in these two happy faces:

The Siegers.

And I think that says it all.

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I Do, I Know

Why Multi-Tasking Is A Farce

I’ve stopped multi-tasking in my job.

And it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

I’ve realised – after several years of thinking that doing too much all at the same time is a good idea, and with thanks to business coach Marie Forleo, whose B-School course I have just completed, that multi-tasking is a complete farce.

Yes, a farce.

The past week, I have focused 100% on exactly what I’m doing at any given time – and on that task alone – and I’ve noticed a huge spike in my productivity, concentration and quality of work.

This might all sound very simple. And you may scratch your head and wonder if this ‘lesson’ I have learnt is really that much of a discovery.

But easier said than done.

The truth is, working in the online space is often erratic, frenetic and involves having 82 tabs open, 10 programs, 12 social media accounts, 6 email accounts, one landline, one mobile phone and a partridge in a pear tree.

It’s overwhelm, on your senses, and in every sense of the word.

And sometimes you get to the end of a long day, back away from the computer and think, ‘Wow, today was so busy, it was go, go, go.’

Which it most likely was.

Go from phone call to email, go from Facebook to Twitter, go from YouTube to online magazines, go from writing to editing, go from here to there and repeat.

I have done this long enough to know that a busy day might not necessarily equal a productive day.

So, after reading the stats and research on the importance of banishing multi-tasking, after learning and evolving, I have stopped multi-tasking at work.

And I get so much more done. I now schedule like a mo-fo, I map out my week before it’s even begun, I break tasks down and I set aside sufficient time for them to be completed in.

And I’m smashing it.

Not being pulled and stretched too thin means I’m not worn out at the end of the day, but more importantly, it means what I’m doing during the day is great work, as opposed to good work. There’s order to my day and that order has brought a certain clarity with it that’s so new to me, I do feel a little bit like a new person.

This is a huge shift for me. And whilst I certainly won’t stop multi-tasking outside of work (the washing, cooking and cleaning trifecta is best left alone), I don’t think I can go back to multi-tasking at work again.

Parts of my day still involve tab-jumping and serial mouse-clicking, but I’ve allowed time for that to happen. It’s not my whole day. Whole timeslots in my day are now blocked out and dedicated to just one task.

If you think it can’t be done, or if you’re scoffing at the thought, give it a go.

Don’t make excuses. I used to all the time. All of the reasons as to why I needed this open or that at my fingertips.

The world will not stop spinning if you spend an hour devoted to working. Your client will not die if you call them back 45 minutes after they leave you a voicemail message. You can take four hours to email someone back. That tweet can wait.

We’ve created this idea that we need to be on top of everything, all at the same time; but that’s not only impossible, chances are it’s also damaging your working life (and maybe life beyond that). As I’ve looked around this week, I’ve noticed people declaring how busy they are, how much there is to do, but then at the end of the week, their to-do list barely has a tick on it. And so they go into the next week with the same list and the same thing happens and then a month has passed. And they’ve somehow kidded themselves into thinking this is how work is supposed to be done.

I should know. I’ve been there.

What we need to do is be clear, focused and on task so we can get the job done. And if you can do that with 82 tabs open, 10 programs, 12 social media accounts, 6 email accounts, one landline, one mobile phone and a partridge in a pear tree, then all power to you.

But I have finished a week where I’ve given multi-tasking the flick and it’s been the best working week I’ve had in a long time. Even though I worked late into the night twice this week. Even though there were some minor frustrations.

So goodbye, multi-tasking, and hello, clear to-do list.

Let’s rock this.

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