Friday, March 18, 2005

Multi-Task or One At A Time?

People regularly tell me that I’m a great multi-tasker. It’s true that with my natural wiring, I can juggle many things at the same time. I can tell when I get overloaded because I am not as productive and I crawl into bed at an early hour. I had one of those nights last night. Normally I operate on about five to six hours of sleep but last night I got eight and a half. It’s a way I can monitor my own workload.

From my view, this whole multi-tasking thing is over rated. Driving down the freeway, I often will talk on my cell phone or I’ll be reading some email when I’m talking on the phone in my office.  Recent tests in the news have proven the danger of such actions because it divides your concentration and waters down your effectiveness.  Multi-tasking as you drive a car is one of the common ways that accidents happen. It’s made me more cautious about using my phone in the car.

As a writer and editor, I get things done one task at a time. Whether I am reading a stack of fiction submissions or writing a short magazine article, it’s all one task at a time. Yesterday I took a chunk of time and headed over to a major league team’s spring training ball park. I caught up with one of their pitchers and interviewed him. My experience was a good one and I pulled off the interview getting what I needed for my magazine article. While the material was fresh in my mind, I took the time and drafted this magazine piece. I hope to look at it again soon and see if it’s done to the specifications of the editor—then send it off—ahead of the deadline.

Each of us in this writing / publishing world have our own challenges. Whether you are writing a children’s book, a novel, a nonfiction book proposal or a magazine article, write it with excellence. Don’t send off something half baked or incomplete. If you do, it will influence the editor about you—and not in a positive way.

It’s my challenge as an editor and writer—to select the right tasks and complete them with excellence. They will be completed one task at a time. I hope it is your challenge as well.

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