Give me a minute!

If I ask for a minute to do something and you keep talking to me, distracting me, and you don’t let me do that thing I need to do, then don’t be surprised when it isn’t done! That’s just how life works. 

Sometimes we need to carefully focus on a task and if you don’t allow for that focus, it’s not going to get done, or worse, it’s going to get done wrong. 

This happened to me some years ago, people kept talking to me, distracting me, asking me to do things when I had asked for a minute of quiet focus. The real kicker here is that those things they were bombarding me with doing, those tasks could have all been asked for in advance. So now, go ahead and add frustrated irritation to the equation. Not only can you not focus, but now you are irritated because their lack of planning becomes your problem. So the process I was trying to perform failed, and then they wondered what went wrong?

Did you know that there is science that says multitasking as we label it today is actually bad? I’ve read multiple reports that state human beings function best when focused on one task at a time. The funny thing is that even as I write this, I can imagine some manager saying, “Well, maybe you are just not good enough to to do this job and we should get someone else.” That’s how it is out there these days. You should be able to do 100 things at once, if you can’t, well that’s incompetence and we should replace you.

In any case, after the fact, for my own future benefit I was testing and trying to determine what went wrong in the process. During the post mortem I found the error in about two seconds. It was so basic, so simple and easy, but at that specific time, with all those distractions, and inability to focus, I simply couldn’t see it.

Multitasking is great, but if someone asks you for a minute to perform a task that requires their undivided attention and focus, stop talking to them, stop asking them for stuff, stop panicking over your lack of preparation and let them do their tasks. Then, and only then, should you bombard them with your issues.

Since that day years ago, I decided that I had to shut people down when I need to focus, otherwise I could miss a super easy thing like I did on that day. Of course, do this in a professional and respectful manner, but do whatever you need to do to achieve your work goal.

Just give me a minute!

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