Friday, December 28, 2007

One by one

During a Q&A, in response to a question about how he handles his many tasks and responsibilities, our university president said, "Multi-tasking doesn't work for me. Trying to do many things at the same time makes me less efficient. The trick is to work on things one at a time. These young ones, they're always trying to do several things at the same time and end up doing nothing well."

I always thought of myself as a multi-tasker. But hearing those words made me realize that I'm not. There is a big difference between multi-tasking and many-tasking. Like our president, I'm more of the latter.

I'm also an inveterate to-do list maker. I have to be, if I don't want to forget all the things I have to do. I have a planner for meetings, dates and appointments, but I keep a separate notebook for the to-do's. Not for me those digital personal organizers, whether computer, cellphone or hand-held device. It's a real, honest-to-goodness notebook where I write both work and personal tasks with ballpens. I color-code them though: blue for personal, black for work. And as I finish each task, I draw a nice, thick check mark beside the item. Satisfying.

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