I've never been a great multi-tasker. I get ve
Sorry, I was messaging a friend on Facebook. What I was saying is, I get very engrossed in activities, to the point where I often forget about other priorities because I get so hung up on one that the others vanish from my consciousness entirely. Sometimes that works well because that item does require most of my attention. But just as often, it's some insignificant detail that I can't seem to dislodge from my frontal lobe. It usually ends in someone shouting something like, "Jessica, we don't have to worry about the opacity of the curtains for another two weeks. Now will you help me get this ravenous coyote's Rabes-infested jaws off of my leg?!"
I used to beat myself up a lot for not being a good multi-tasker. Especially in the thickets of being an executive assistant, everyday felt like one big neverending "You fucked this up." As I've talked with and heard stories from other EAs, I was amazed to learn that this is a common occurrence. What I've surmised is that everyone fucks up the same amount; the only difference is how they react to it. My old reaction-- the nerve-ending of a compulsion to assume that I'm just the worst-- is what a seasoned industry toolbag would refer to as lacking "thick skin." But we don't use that Craigslist language here.
What I realize now, that I didn't quite realize then, is that hating on myself for the sole offense of being human created a terrible cycle of not being able to succeed, because I was so hung up on my failures. "Failures." It's not some big mysterious phenomenon; it's pretty transparent logic. How can I pour my attention and brain power into an activity if 90% of my neurological CPU is being taken up by doubt and self-criticism? How well is any person likely to succeed at anything if there's a big beefy drill sergeant yelling politically incorrect insults at the back of their head?
In short, it's more productive to be nice to myself. And, I'm sure some might add, psychologically healthier.
I don't mean to get into a whole insightful soliloquy about Believing In Your-Self; I address it only as a point of reference for the freedom I've experienced from it in recent times. Cuz dude, let me tell you, I've been multi-tasking like a mother pheasant plucker.
AND IT'S GOING OKAY.
I could attribute this success to a variety of things, but at the root I truly think that few of the circumstances have changed, I'm just approaching the problem differently. I'm taking loving pains to avoid stress and self-aberration. Things do get overwhelming and do often feel like a tsunami wave headed straight for me, but I do the best that I can to remind myself, "Hey! It's just surfing! You love surfing!"
And baby, I've been riding the wave. Imperfectly, but with an openness and optimism that replaced the masochistic fear that was there before. I just want to say that this works really, really well for me.
Tangentially related, want to read the article that borderline changed my life a year ago? For those of you who don't read anything informative that isn't a listicle, it makes the psychological argument that humans are naturally bad at/incapable of multi-tasking. WELL GEEZ ISN'T THAT GOOD TO KNOW?
But the real reason I bring up multi-tasking is that nobody else will build my braggers' soapbox for me. In the past week alone I have been approached by 4 people to production design/art-ify projects, and that's in addition to the two projects I'm currently working on simultaneously, AND the bitty web sketch coming up in a couple weeks.
First oRDER OF BUSINESS: BOO-YAH.
Secondly: Such success necessitates multi-tasking. I have no choice but to go day by day with a task list for all these things I promise to other people. And in being acceptance about it, I manage to achieve it. I never thought I'd be able to do this, and so far so good! I've been juggling torches and keeping people happy. Mostly. 2 projects conflicted with the others, so I had to politely decline. But my ego is walking away from the whole ordeal with a grin on its face.
Things are great. Life is great. Tune in next week when I'm all stressed out and completely negate any hope and wisdom you may have gleaned from this post. <3
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