Each of us is an individual with a different genetic make up and unique personality. We live in different situations and have different challenges. Therefore it comes as no surprise that what works for one person in terms of keeping track of things that must be done and getting the most out of creative pursuits may not work for someone else. We can get useful ideas from the internet, various resources found at the library and chatting to friends or professionals, but in the end one has to decide what works best personally and follow that. No one else can tell you what will work for you.
Multi-tasking works for some people but not for others. There are those who say multi-tasking gets more things done and those who believe completing one task at a time is more efficient. May be it also depends on the task or tasks that need to be done.
I find multi tasking works well for me in some situations. When I am ‘on a roll’ with my writing I sometimes find the ideas are flying thick and fast and inspiration for another article will pop into my head. Sometimes ideas for several articles occur to me at once and perhaps some possible photo ideas. I quickly jot the ideas down on paper or open a new Word document and put down some notes to follow up later. I will add to these notes when I come across information, a quote (I love quotes) or have more ideas. This means sometimes when I come to write a particular article I am surprised at how much is already done. If I didn’t record these ideas as soon as they occurred to me I would lose them forever.
At other times I find it works better to concentrate on one task and get it done and crossed off the list. Lists work for me. A variation on the list suggestion is to put post-it notes on a wall or door and remove each one (or put on the other side) once the task is completed. The first time I tried this the post-its weren’t very sticky and I had the window open so they just blew onto the floor. Some people find they are more flexible if they don’t make lists of tasks to complete.
I find it helpful to get things down in writing, whether it is a list of things to do, the pros and cons of an issue or something I need to make a phone call about. Some people find diagrams helpful and will create mind maps or other diagrammatic ways of recording their ideas. There are others who aren’t comfortable with putting things in writing and so this doesn’t work for them.
I need a diary and choose to use a book type or I note things on the calendar. Other people use an electronic device to keep track of appointments and payments due. Some people manage quite well by putting their appointment cards and bills on the fridge with magnets.
Some like to study or do other tasks requiring concentration in a quiet room. Others like music. Some find lyrics distracting. I find certain music helps me write articles or study. This is usually instrumental music with a definite beat played softly but recently I started listening to a particular CD with vocals and I now find I get some of my best ideas when this CD is on. I am guessing this is because I now associate being creative with this CD, but I don’t have any scientific evidence to back this idea. There are those who seem to concentrate quite well with the TV plus another source of noise but I would be so distracted by conflicting aural stimuli. .
Some people need a neat environment to work or study in and are distracted by mess. Others don’t notice the mess or are actually more relaxed in a somewhat messy environment. There are people who are more creative in a messy environment and research has proved this. Everyone has their own perception of ‘tidy’ and ‘messy’. I would say I function best in a somewhat messy environment but if it starts to get out of control it is too distracting.
It is all a matter of personality, lifestyle and how your brain functions so there is no ‘one size fits all’ way of operating. When you can say, ‘It works for me’ just go ahead and do it without worrying about how others would approach the task.