Break your list down into chunks and attack it one thing at a time.
I never realized how important teaching this skill was. I mean my editors have lived by the list forever, but other than me saying make a list so you can cross things off of it, I never really thought of this as a learned skill.
And then this year happened.
Last month we assigned newspaper three stories at once. The result: crash and burn. Most of the students tried to do three things at once. They didn’t understand the list, prioritizing, doing one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is embedded into who they are. They couldn’t turn it off.
Yesterday the same thing happened. Photographers were given a list of assignments and they got the photos taken but they lost them before they were uploaded. They were doing too many things at once and work had to be redone because of it.
I’ve caught myself doing the same thing. A couple days ago I was at the Y on the elliptical, listening to a book and a CNN story caught my attention. When the reader announced the book was done, my attention snapped back. I had no idea what was in the book, but I can tell you about the electronic music culture, the rave law and how EMTs at music events try to address the drug problem without making it seem like they condone drug usage.
We’re so busy today it seems like multi-tasking is a must, but the quality of work suffers because of it. Sometimes it seems like multi-tasking is a must because our lists are so long.
Multi-tasking while working through a long list only makes a mess.
My editors get this. They’re masters of the list and amazing at delegating.
I think they’re better than I am with this is a lot of ways.
The list is a lesson I’m teaching from now on, and it’s something I’m going to live as well.
This crazy busy world we live in is just too overwhelming without the list. Multi-tasking makes it worse.