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Speaker, Writer, and Author of GodSpace

Mindful multi-tasking??

In order to attempt to make a living as a writer, you have to be good at juggling. You have to work on more than one project at a time. I remember reading (it may have been today as I’ve been working) that multi-tasking precludes mindfulness. And yet, the work I am doing requires mindfulness: to be fully focused on the present moment. You cannot write while focusing on something else.

 

 

 

 

This week, I’ve devoted hours to freelance projects that help pay the bills. I’ve worked on trying to market “Deeper into the Word: New Testament” and let people know about cool promotions connected with it, including a very exciting project with the folks at Midday Connection on Moody Radio (stay tuned for updates on that in the next few days.) I’ve read through the final page galleys for one book (“Mornings with Jesus”) to which I’m a contributor along with Sharon Hinck and Camy Tang, among others.  I’m currently also reading edits on “Deeper into the Word: Old Testament” which will release this fall. Whew!

Combine the writing life with the mom life and it gets a bit crazy. It’s much easier now that my daughter is driving–she just took her younger brother to his driver’s ed class, then she’s running to the library for me to return overdue books.  this enables me to stay at the computer, writing, instead of driving.

While that’s helpful, I still often feel pulled in different directions. How do I live mindfully, yet still get everything done? I’m grateful for the insights of Jack Groppel, whose brilliant  ideas on “time-chunking” (essentially doing one thing at a time and devoting all your focus to that one thing) and managing energy rather than time really work for me. I have a long list of things to do, but I try to do one thing at a time. Sure, I get occasional interruptions from the kids. But I’m learning to see the interruptions as part of my job–if I were working in a corporate setting, interruptions from co-workers or the people I manage would be part of my job.

Can I devote full attention to whatever task is before me? That’s the goal: to do one thing at a time. Another key to working efficiently is to learn how to rest. To engage fully, but then take time to disengage: to have dinner with my family in the evening, get enough sleep, get some exercise. And once a week, to take a full day off from my ever-present work. (This past Sunday, after church, our family went boating with our friends the Stephani’s, which was great fun and very relaxing.)

How can you live mindfully (being fully present) and still get everything done?  Let’s talk about it: leave a comment or question.

6 Comments

  1. Well said, Keri! I find that managing energy and focus are absolute key to a productive writing life. I so appreciate you reminding me of it because even though it works for me, I can let those good habits slide a bit. Today I took my laptop to the recliner couch “to be more comfortable” but I achieved far less than if I had stayed in my office and focused. You blessed me today!

  2. Ha-ha, so true. About 4 in the afternoon I sat on the couch to read through some galleys and ended up napping a bit! Definitely was only doing one thing at a time, but yeah, the couch is not a good place to try to get things done!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this.
    I know multi-tasking may not the best way to do things, but sometimes it’s the only option you have. Especially as a writer, you have so many ideas so many thoughts coming in. We just have to remember to write them down, but still stay focused so that we can complete the tasks that God has given to us.

    Learn how to rest? I’m still trying to learn that one!

    I enjoyed listening to you on midday connection – the insight on “Bread” was just phenomenal! Thank you. I can’t wait to pick up your book.

  4. I don’t think I have a full answer, but I do know that not using negative self talk helps! we have to take time to be kind to ourselves. And with that comes some self evaluation and re-eavaluation of how to respect our time.

  5. My life is multitasking!

  6. I remember a quote “wherever you are, be all there” and then I was reminded of what I learned from our Pastor about it. He said that in everything we do, we do it with our 100% best. We do not chunk or segmented our time and energy with all our activities to say I cook 20%, and do laundry 10% and study 20% and do work 30% and do ministry 20% and get the total of 100%. But that in doing any or every task before us, we do it with all our 100% best. So to say, I am 100% student, and 100% Cell group leader, and 100% daughter and so on… And that is loving the Lord Jesus “with all” our heart, soul, and strength (Matthew 22:37-39). Thanks Keri for again I was reminded about it. God bless the works of your hands!

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