Sunday, August 23, 2015

Getting something done through "Singletasking"

A common societal disease, both inhibiting and debilitating, is multi-tasking. I'm not talking about listening to a radio or mp3 player through earphones while one is mowing the lawn or doing a little work on a laptop while watching TV. I'm thinking here of texting and talking on a cellphone while driving OR taking a phone call while you're visiting with someone across a lunch table or desk.

I can easily avoid egregious errors of etiquette but what clogs up my mental machinery is having launched too many projects, resulting in that "I don't know where to begin" feeling. I become task paralyzed. Can't get going, can't finish anything I've started.

There's a book that provides an answer to this dilemma. It's entitled Singletasking: Get More Done One Thing at a Time by Devora Zack and published this year (2015) by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., Oakland, California. I discovered this inspiring book at the Dr. James Carlson south side branch of the Fargo (ND) Public Library.

Although Zack writes that "nobody cares about my credentials except my mother," I think it's impressive she has an MBA from Cornell University and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania (magna cum laude). Her first two books: Networking for People Who Hate Networking and Managing for People Who Hate Managing have both been translated into more than 20 languages. She travels the world speaking and consulting for major companies helping people get more things done.

Zack's strategy can be summed up in an anonymous quote she used on her book's preface page: "The successful man is the average man, focused." And - AHA! -  I knew I was going to like this book and her strategy when she presented another quotation I have always valued, one I have often used myself. It's from the perceptive American business leader, Jack Welch. He said: "You would not believe how difficult it is to be simple and clear. People are afraid that they may be seen as a simpleton. In reality, just the opposite is true."

If you've ever worked for a larger business or corporation, you know, as I do from experience, that truer words were never spoken.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, making many notes along the way. It has helped me get off the dime and get something done. Like this blog post. I have been trying to post something here for the last six months! I strongly commend it to you if plagued, to one degree or another, by the contemporary disease of "multi-tasking." If you can't seem to get through your "to do" list, do read this book. It will help.  - Lg

For more information on this book and/or to order, go to Amazon.