Earlier this year I had the privilege of travelling to Ireland on business. I stayed in the Sandyford region of Dublin. It was my first time in Ireland.
Ireland had been on my bucket list for quite some time so when the opportunity came up to go there, I jumped at it.
Sandyford is a very quiet town. It's mostly made up of office buildings, industrial parks, hotels, and a few apartment blocks. There's not much to do there but it's about a 20 minute drive away from Dublin city centre, which is hive of activity. There are numerous bars, pubs, restaurants, shops to keep anyone entertained.
The working hours of my days there were spent, well, working. But my early mornings and evenings were entirely my own and I filled them with quiet contemplation and reflection, fine dining, movies, socialising, live music, and the obligatory Guinness or three. There's nothing surprising about these activities. But I've left something off the list; more work. I found the time...Correction; I made the time to do all the things that have sat at the bottom of my to-do list "since the Devil was a boy", as my mum likes to say in her Jamaican accent.
I actually surprised myself with just how many things I was able to cross off my list. So much so, that I asked myself, how?
To cut a long story short, these are the answers I came up with:
I didn't necessarily do these things intentionally, they kind of just happened as a result of the change in routine and environment. However, the quiet contemplation and reflection I mentioned earlier helped me to see that these things are extremely beneficial. Here's how and why.
Living a fast paced live, constantly rushing from one activity to the next deprives you of the headspace you need to plan and execute your daily routine effectively. And when you fail to plan, you're planning to fail.
Waking Up Early
One of the biggest challenges to being productive is distraction. It's true that many distractions come from technology but as hard as it may be to tear ourselves away from technology, we can. You CAN switch off your phone. You CAN turn off the TV. You CAN shutdown your computer, or at the very least, disable its notifications. But the worst distractions are the ones you can do little or nothing about, and they come from other people.
Your boss distracts you. Your colleagues distract you. Depending on how thin your walls are, even your neighbours distract you. And as much as you love them, your family distracts you too. But the advantage of waking up at between 4 and 5 am is that all of those people are asleep! Goodbye distractions, hello productivity!
Multitasking is a myth! It doesn't exist. And the most insidious thing about this myth is that it claims to make you more productive but nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, the opposite is true.
"Multitasking to be more productive is like killing yourself to extend your life!"
When you perform several tasks at once the tasks get in the way of each other and you make mistakes. A lot of them.
Computers are good at multitasking. They do this thing called "multithreading" where several portions of processing power, or "threads" are able to work on different things independently. But you are not a computer. You don't have several "threads", you have one. When you multitask, your brain doesn't spin up a new thread, it divides the only it's got, thus decreasing the "processing power" of each part, which in turn decreases your effectiveness and productivity.
Don't get me wrong, some people are quite good at multitasking. I'm one of those people. But just because you can, doesn't mean you should. And here's why:
You will enjoy life more if you stop multitasking.
Honestly, you will. You'll enjoy your food more if you stop watching TV while you eat. You'll movies more if you stop "second screening". And you'll enjoy your family time more if you stop checking your phone for "important" emails. Don't believe me? Try it.
So that's what I'd like to share with you from my trip to Ireland. That, and the pictures below.
The pictures are mostly of food...And Guinness.
Food & Drink
© Copyright Martin Riley T/A Quantum Consultancy Services 2020, all rights reserved