By Richard Mulvey

I am a man, (I guess you got that from my name) and men are not supposed to be able to multitask, so they say.

Actually I spend most of my life multitasking by necessity. I am writing this article and already I have taken two phone calls and enjoyed a brief discussion with my partner. The problem is, I have written just 30 or so words and I have taken 15 minutes to do it. When I started this article I had a very clear idea what I wanted to write but after every one of the interruptions I had to re-think what I wanted to say.

My partner is in the office with me and I am sure the phone is going to ring again so I do not expect to finish the article in the 30 minutes I have allocated for the task. This is inevitable. We are all disturbed by one thing or another while we are trying to get things done and we have to decide if the interruptions are worth it.

Women are, apparently, good at multitasking but, at the risk of upsetting them, multitasking is not the best way to get everything done efficiently.

Focus is the key. If you want to complete 10 tasks in a day focus on each one separately. Finish one then get on with the next. Every time you change tasks before they are complete, you waste the time it takes to re-focus which will often double the time required to finish.

Actually Focus is an F word and the word is Fabulous.

You can get anything with focus. Make a list of what you want to achieve and take it out every day. Focus on that list one item at a time. Get a really clear picture of this item and visualise what it will be like to achieve that thing. Do this every morning and the decisions you take during the day will be influenced by that focus in the morning.

You will discover that you are able to achieve those glorious goals much quicker with focus.

Focus on your work and then when you get home in the evening focus on your family. Sitting watching the news or your favourite soapie is not a focused family pastime. Have dinner round the dining table with the TV off, do the homework with the children or read them books. Many years ago I read a notice on a school wall that stated ‘Children spell love “T-I-M-E” ‘ and by that we mean Focused T-I-M-E. Studies in the US show very clearly that families who focus their family time by eating round the dining table are much less likely to raise children who take drugs. This survey applied irrespective of the demographics of the participants.

Focus is the key to a successful and fulfilling life.

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