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Christmas Reflections … And that is okay.

Christmas TreeI sit here late into the Christmas night reflecting over the day. It wasn’t your traditional Christmas.

There wasn’t any

- early morning excitement with little feet crashing down the steps towards the pile high of presents
– long, tiring cooking marathon in the kitchen and frantic setting of table in anticipation of company
– tearing sounds of paper accompanied by ooos and ahhhs or occasional shrieks of excitement while opening gifts
– smell of roasting coffee that would soothe the tired wrapping hands and warm an empty belly all the while giving that little wake up jolt after a few sips
– the ringing of the phone bringing Merry Christmas wishes and reminders of what to bring or discussion of when to visit throughout the day
– the sweeping sound of the broom cleaning up the oodles and oodles of crumpled paper left on the floor
– eventual quieting of movement as everyone tried on their clothes or started playing with their toys
– amazing smells emanating from the kitchen as everyone rushes to the table, pulling out chairs and arguing of who’s going to sit where as we sat down to a traditional holiday brunch
– the final, restful sound of silence as everyone dispersed to play with their newfound toys or put on their new makeup to get ready to go somewhere
– the sound of running water as the first round of dishes are washed in preparation for the next meal and visitors or visiting others

 

Rather it was

- a slow awakening to the sound of the fan whirring overhead
– a gradual opening of the eyes to let the daylight waken your mind
– a realization that today wasn’t supposed to be like any other day but wondering what it would really be like
– slipping into fuzzy slippers and a warm robe to still the shivers of the morning air and shuffle to the kitchen
– grabbing a warm cup of sweetened tea with lemon to soothe a grumbling stomach
– patting the pooch on the head while giving her a treat and letting her out for her morning potty call
– settling into the rocking chair with the phone in the hopes you’d get a morning holiday call
– reading a chapter of a self help or inspirational book on your Kindle since the holiday seemed to warrant something deeper than a fictional story
– catching up with the world through social media or email
– answering the call for a quick FaceTime to watch presents being opened and quickly chatting about your grown up son’s agenda for the day (modern technology certainly helps to feel included but not always enough)
– ditching the traditional brunch for a quick reheat of a leftover or bowl of cereal
– catching random Xmas specials or replays on TV
– catching up on podcasts
– reminiscing on holidays of the past

But it’s all okay.

For life moves on. Children grow up, loved ones pass on, our worlds as we once knew them change. So how we spend our holidays change.

Sometimes they aren’t always a big, happy celebration, but a quiet remembering.  AND THAT IS OKAY.

Some years are easier than others.  AND THAT IS OKAY.

Some years they are not always what we wish for.  AND THAT IS OKAY.

 

This year I was happy to

- use modern technology to share in the opening of gifts with my two sons and their families
- see the huge smile of a 5 year old as he holds his heavy lego toy overheard and exclaims ‘This is my favorite!’
– take a nap in the middle of the day
– connect with friends miles away via Facebook
– get a quick call at the end of the night to say ‘Hey Mom, thanks for the presents. I love you.’ PRICELESS.
– not feel so depressed I wanted to hide under the covers
– wish the day away

 

AND THAT IS OKAY.

READY FOR THANKSGIVING? Don’t fret, help is here.

giving thanks

TEN TIPS TO A TERRIFIC TURKEY DAY

Are you ready for Turkey Day?  Don’t fret if you’re not, there’s still time to get everything together!  Check out these tips for help on how to get organized for the big day! 

 

 1. GATHER YOUR IDEAS AND RECIPES: Check out the mountains of magazines in the stores; eye catching pictures can help to inspire your menu. Browse the internet for some more ideas (foodnetwork.com, marthastewart.com and pinterest.com are my favorites).  Take some time to watch the cooking channels highlighting holiday suggestions.

 2. DESIGN YOUR MENU: Create diversity by including some traditional favorites from the past as well as adding a few new recipes that can become favorites in the future. Try to balance your menu with color, texture and flavor to entice your guests.  And remember…you want to make twice as much as usual for leftovers!

 3. CREATE A SHOPPING LIST: Write down all of the items from each recipe to make a master shopping list.  You might want to break your shopping into several trips if time allows: packaged & frozen items the week before, turkey the week of, produce 1-2 days before you cook.  Try not to get caught up in all the frenzy; there will still be frozen turkeys the day before the big day – you just may have to flash thaw the turkey or eat later in the day!  If something you want isn’t available, choose something new!

 4. PLOT A TIMELINE: Timelines detailing when things should be completed helps to avoid snafus like having two things needing to be cooked at the same time on the stove or in the oven!  It helps to construct one by working backwards from the time of the meal.  Try to do as much as possible ahead of time so you can relax and enjoy doing something special or spending time with your company.

 5. CHOOSE YOUR SERVING DISHES: This will save guessing which food will go in which dish on turkey day.  Label the dishes with the food item that belongs to it so others can help you put the food on the table and everything will stay hot longer.

6. SET THE TABLE: This is a great time to showcase your special dishes!  Choose your favorites, wash and dry ahead of time and put aside covered to avoid dust.  If you’re lucky to have a separate dining table, set it up early in the week to make sure it looks the way you want (again, cover with a tablecloth to protect).  If not enough time, set it early in the day and always take advantage of extra hands!

 7. CREATE A CENTERPIECE: Professional arrangements should be ordered at least a week in advice; cut flowers/arrangements can be purchased in most grocery stores up to the day.  Think about alternative centerpieces to flowers: edible arrangements are wonderful substitutes – use what’s in your refrigerator (lemons, oranges, artichokes or asparagus make great choices).  Get kids involved and make a paper cornucopia or turkey…this could add interest to your table and inspire conversation among your guests.

 8. PUT YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER: Clean your main rooms a few days ahead, then do a quick run through with a duster the day before.  If you’re entertaining overnight guests and have a separate area/room for their use, make sure the bed has clean sheets/blankets and there are a set of fresh towels; add a special touch with an amenities basket like those found in hotels – sample sizes are readily available in most pharmacies or discount stores or a ready make basket can be purchased from a wholesale store.

 9. ADD SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Try adding music to your special day: use a portable cd/mp3 player with a speaker, the computer or even music channels on the television to set the mood.  This will help create a welcoming environment for all those who enter your home.

 10. RELAX AND STAY FLEXIBLE: Try to find some pockets of time each day leading up to the big Turkey day to relax: 15 minutes of a relaxing activity will lower your stress levels – walk, exercise, meditate or just breathe!  And there’s bound to be mishaps – remember to stay flexible and accept whatever comes your way – you’ll work through it.

Cheers to a happy and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

LIST-A-PALOOZA: 90 Day List Building Challenge

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The 3 Phases of Growing Your E-mail List

by PJ Van Hulle

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How do you go from no e-mail list at all, to adding a few people here and there, to adding hundreds or thousands at a time?

Here are the 3 phases of list-building and some of the most effective list-building tactics in each stage…

PHASE 1:  Getting Started

When you’re just starting out, it is recommended to reach out to your sphere of influence and inviting them to receive your special newsletter or tips (whatever valuable free goody you offer on an ongoing basis).

Here are some places to start:

  • Stacks of business cards you’ve collected
  • Contacts in Gmail (or whatever e-mail provider you have)
  • People in your cell phone
  • Facebook friends
  • LinkedIn connections

Send them an e-mail message to reconnect, inviting them to opt in to your list.  I’ll share some specific templates for this in the Opening Ceremonies call of the List-a-Palooza 90 Day List-Building Challenge.

By the way, you need PERMISSION to add someone to your e-mail list.  Otherwise, it’s considered spam.  When someone gives you their business card, it does NOT mean they’ve opted in to your list (unless they specifically say, “Here’s my card… please add me to your list.”)

PHASE 2:  Launching

Just like a rocket uses most of its fuel to get off the ground, adding the first 1,000 people to your list is the hardest, in my opinion.

You can accelerate your results in this stage by asking for referrals, regularly posting on social media, public speaking, attending networking events, and investing in paid advertising, like Facebook ads.

If you’re really ambitious, you can add hundreds or thousands of people to your list in a relatively short period of time by hosting a tele-summit where the speakers that you’re interviewing help promote the event.

PHASE 3:  Leverage

As your list gets bigger and bigger, it’s easier to find strategic alliances and affiliates with bigger lists to promote you and vice versa.Once you have an online sales funnel that converts well, it’s less scary to invest more money in paid advertising as well.  Therefore, once you’ve reached this stage, it’s a lot easier to add hundreds or thousands of people to your list at a time.

 

The intention with List-a-Palooza 90 Day List-Building Challenge is that it will help you get to Phase 3 more quickly or accelerate your results in Phase 3, if you’re already there.  Join us in the challenge today!

 

Picture of PJ Van Hulle

   PJ Van Hulle is an acclaimed international speaker and author who works with speakers, coaches and   consultants who love what they do but get frustrated with the marketing part. She is the creator of the List-a-Palooza 90 Day List-Building Challenge.

My Photo Journey of the Country Living Magazine Fair 2013

Recently, I had lost a little of my focus after having been sick with a cold for a week; I wasn’t sure how to find my mojo again, so I did what everybody does when they want help finding an answer – I asked my Facebook fans!  A recurring answer was to go somewhere that helps you clear your mind and I had the perfect place just a few minutes away.  I put aside my to-do list this weekend, hopped in the car and headed across the river to Rhinebeck, NY, where Country Living Magazine was holding their vintage flea market for the first time at this new venue location.

And, boy, was I ever glad!

It was an awesome day filled with traipsing through stalls of fantastic vintage chic treasures, meeting lots of different vendors and artists and listening to an awesome group of ladies from “Sisters on the Fly”.  I thought you might like to share in some of the highlights from my experience – come join me for a photo journey of this awesome outdoor event!

Opening to Sisters on the Fly RV Exhibit

The fair started with the delightful Sisters on the Fly exhibit of ol’ time renovated RVs displaying cute vintage sale items.  I remembered hearing about this group, adventurous women vacationing in the outdoors with renovated RVs all on their own, but couldn’t recall the particulars. (I found out more later in the day.)  We didn’t linger long as we were anxious to get closer to all of the awesome vendors and merchandise.

 

As we continued, there were so many gems along the way…starting with a little glimpse into the past as well as a science & history lesson where we found out how old-time glass automobile batteries were used.  Who would have thought!

Old Time Automobile Batteries

 

Moving along, we encountered

 the quintessential vintage sale vignettes…

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and old era-like jewelry.

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As we moved through the covered stalls filled with the colorful displays everywhere, we came into the building with Americana items….a little slice of heaven showcasing items from all over our country that evoke so many memories of our past.

The bike from an era gone by

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the handcrafted americana art

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and the items that showcase our country’s heritage

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After a short break sipping old-fashioned lemonade, we strolled onward…

enjoying the warm sun as we gazed upon the outdoor displays of repurposed everyday items

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and heading down the path to find some more wonderful treats.

Whether it was a little something from the Provence of France such as vintage home goods, lacy textiles swaying in the breeze or a french provincial vignette

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or lovingly handcrafted items right from our very own backyard,

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there was a plethora of beauty for everyone.

From the unusual …. 3 floor, 36 room bed & breakfast for birds

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to the whimsy of a windchime created from old utensils;

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and back to something unexpected –

IMG_20130608_133918_392   who knew a light fixture could be made out of burlap?

Everywhere you turned, there was an explosion of creativity, nostalgia and charm.  We didn’t only spend a lot of time browsing, though.  We also spent lots of time gabbing with artisans, from all over, who love to share not only their techniques, but the unique stories behind their art like:

  • Kathryn Kosto from www.poetrycollage.com, right here in our very own state of New York, who loves to tell the story of poetry through collages created out of vintage textiles and memorabilia
  • to Mike Rawson from www.rockinghorsecarver.com, an amazing wood-carver donating proceeds to cancer from Ohio and
  • Ryan McPhail from www.statelytables.com, again from New York, who creates amazing tables of states carved out of wood.

No matter who they were, they loved to share their skill, passion and creativity.

But I couldn’t let this post end without highlighting our favorite vendor of the fair, Sweeter Than The Tea, who had these wonderfully repurposed mason & canning jars.

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Our spectacular day ended by re-visiting the Sisters On The Fly exhibit (read all about them here) and chatting with several RV-ers who described the amazing journey to customize their vintage accommodations.

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The day was amazingly wonderful and words (and pictures) cannot adequately describe it.  What started out as an activity designed to refocus my tired brain became a memorable life experience and something that inspired me to look for the next vintage fair!  I think a vacation is now in order and definitely one with a vintage fair will be on the horizon.

If you’ve visited somewhere recently that inspired you, helped you refocus or brought you great joy, please share it belowIt might inspire someone else!

LIST-A-PALOOZA: 90 Day List Building Challenge

 

List-a-Palooza Banner

DISCOVER THE HIDDEN GOLD IN YOUR EMAIL LIST

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By PJ Van Hulle

You’ve probably heard that, “the fortune is in the follow up,” but if you’re like most of the 1,000’s of entrepreneurs I’ve worked with over the last 11 years, your follow up systems leave something to be desired.

Here’s why
“the fortune is in the follow up,”
and what that looks like…

According to my friend and online marketing expert, Vrinda Normand, in most niche markets, or the specific group of people you serve:

    • 3% are actively shopping for what you offer
    • 7% are aware and open to your services, but not looking
    • 30% are not aware of their problem or your solution
    • 30% may know you exist, but it’s not the right time
    • 30% are simply not a fit

This means that if you’re not following up, you’re leaving behind the 67% of people that might be ready to sign up for your products or services down the road!

When you follow up consistently, you will STAY IN FRONT of these people.  Maybe they’re not ready now, but when they are ready, you’ll be at the top of their mind and therefore you’ll be the one they hire over someone that didn’t follow up.

Imagine how much more money you could put in your pocket just by staying in touch with those 67% of people who may need you in the future.

The easiest and most effective way to follow up and nurture those relationships is to build an e-mail list of clients and potential clients who have “opted in” and given you permission to send them e-mails.

A good rule of thumb for monetizing your list is to shoot for $1 per subscriber, per month.  So if your goal is to generate $10,000 per month in income, focus on growing your e-mail list to 10,000 subscribers.

With a profitable e-mail list you can:

● Fill your seminars and programs

● Attract more clients and sales

● Turn current clients into repeat clients

● Promote other peoples’ programs that you believe in and earn $1,000′s in affiliate commissions

Building your list is like taking advantage of compound interest.  The sooner you start, the better.  And the longer you nurture your list, the more profitable it will be.

To quantum leap your e-mail list to the next level, I recommend participating for FREE in the List-a-Palooza 90 Day List-Building Challenge.

Picture of PJ Van HullePJ Van Hulle is an acclaimed international speaker and author who works with speakers, coaches and consultants who love what they do but get frustrated with the marketing part. She is the creator of the List-a-Palooza 90 Day List-Building Challenge.

FORTUNES OF FATE: Pay it Forward to Keep Them Coming

FortunesThe other day I was cleaning out a desk drawer and came across a pile of fortunes that I had been saving over the past few months.  For some reason, I don’t seem to be able to part with fortunes; I think it secretly has something to do with not wanting to break the chain of fate as I strongly believe in “what goes around comes around”.

After weighing what to do with all these pearls of wisdom, I decided that if I “pay it forward” and share my wishes of good fortune, then I would be able to toss those itty, bitty pieces of paper without guilt; this way maybe good fortune will still rain down upon me.  Here are my top 10 fortunes that I’d like to pass on to you.

  1. Today’s action becomes tomorrow’s habit.
  2. Enthusiasm is contagious; not having enthusiasm is also contagious.
  3. There’s no boosting a man up the ladder unless he’s willing to climb.
  4. Do you see difficulty behind every opportunity or opportunity behind every difficulty?
  5. Winning isn’t everything but the will to win IS.
  6. Cleaning up the past will always clear up the future.
  7. It is not in your character to give up.
  8. Instead of giving someone a piece of your mind, give someone the peace of your mind.
  9. Don’t be hasty, prosperity will knock on your door soon.
  10. Never doubt logical things.

I will continue to collect these fortunes (as fortune cookies are one of my favorite treats :) ), but by sharing them with others, I know I will no longer have to worry about breaking the chain of fate AND I will be the better for paying it forward.

Do you have something that brought you good luck that you can share with others? Share it in the comment area below to pay it forward.

PERFECT vs. IMPERFECT: Which is more memorable?

Perfect Birthday CakeThis morning I read an article from the Life Lessons section in Real Simple magazine (May issue) called She Takes the Cake by Elissa Schappell.  It was a story about the passing down of a baking pan from Elissa’s mother and the memories it elicited each time she used it.  Whenever Elissa used the pan to create her own children’s cakes, she was reminded of how embarrassed she felt about the imperfect cakes her mother insisted on baking for her celebrations; she would much rather have had a “perfect”  store cake like her friends always had.  Would repeating the ritual evoke any of the same feelings in her own children?

I was drawn to this story because it mimicked my own path of expressing my love towards my children as they grew up through rituals followed each year.  Would they look back upon those rituals with the same love and care that I put into creating them or would they, too, sometimes feel ashamed of their mom’s imperfect cakes and celebrations?  Only time would tell.

One ritual I followed through the years was their birthday celebration.  Just like Elissa’s mother did each year I, too, lovingly baked a special cake for them and as they got older incorporated it into a themed party to make a really big deal about their birthdays. (After all, to me, the day they were born were two of the most special days in my life!)

As they entered into the school age years, the parties became a little more elaborate with character themes and the cakes became quite a bit more detailed.  I remember the years of Big Bird, Barney and especially Ninja turtles – that was the year their grandmother’s tongue turned green from the icing! Of course, when they moved into middle school, they started requesting going somewhere for a party instead of playing at home, but cool cakes were still trucked into the venues. (Ninja turtles turned into acoustic guitars and soccer fields.)

The celebrations slowed down when they got into high school (it was a little too difficult to manage parties during the teen years), but the cakes continued.  That’s when we changed from having parties to going out to eat at their favorite restaurants; I think we went to a local Italian one for 4 years in a row because my youngest son always loved spaghetti & meatballs… he still does!

Birthday celebrations got a little trickier when they went off to college, but somehow I always managed to do something crazy to make it feel special (ordering a pizza blow-out for their dorm mates, sending a balloon bouquet to a study hall to make them feel silly or having a take-out meal delivered to their first off campus apartment).  Since they were 3 hours away, I couldn’t make cakes for them, but I managed to send a huge care package with lots of goodies to make up for it.

My sons live on their own now, but luckily reside in the same town so I can once again spoil them with birthday celebrations.  We’ve now come full circle and celebrate with their favorite meal at home and the choice of a dessert made lovingly by their adoring mother.

It’s funny how the paths we sometimes travel down lead us all the way back home, isn’t it?  After reading about Ms. Schappell’s experience with her mom and how she decided she’d rather continue the ritual with her own kids instead of buying “perfect” cakes, I’ve come to understand that I, too, will probably continue my “imperfect” ritual Homemade Cakefor a long time to come.  Luckily, my sons realize that I created this ritual as an expression of my love and although it has changed and evolved over the years, it means a lot more to them to have our “imperfect” celebrations at home rather than  “perfect” ones elsewhere.

Now, tell me, do you have an “imperfect” ritual that created a lasting memory? I’d love to hear all about it; won’t you share your story in the comments below?

Turn Your Cluttered Counters Into Organized Heaven

 

3 EASY STEPS TO TURN YOUR CLUTTERED

COUNTERS INTO ORGANIZED HEAVEN

 

DO YOUR COUNTERTOPS LOOK LIKE THIS?

Have they become cluttered and disorganized?  Has their purpose been lost in a sea of clutter?  This can quickly happen if you spend a lot of time in your kitchen, use it for many purposes and have lost the good habits that keep it in order.  Counters contribute to the efficiency as well as the ease of work time in your kitchen – keeping them organized can save you much frustration.  Hope is not lost, though.  I can help you overcome this challenge in 3 easy steps.  Here’s how:

    1. RE-ESTABLISH THE PURPOSE

You must remember that counters are designed as a work surface not as a dumping ground.  Shifting your mindset and re-establishing the purpose of this valuable real estate will help you to foster good habits in maintaining that purpose.  Whenever the kitchen starts getting messy, repeat the reminder to halt those nasty bad habits you might unconsciously perform; you might want to even consider posting a saying about the purpose to remind you. 

   2. CLEAR THE CLUTTER

Countertops are like wastebaskets (just flatter): they accumulate junk quickly and easily overflow.  To avoid this problem, set aside time to declutter the counters and clean on a regular basis (clean daily; declutter weekly):

      • Remove anything old, broken or no longer usable
      • Put away anything that does not belong in the kitchen
      • Wipe down all counters
TIP: Keep a receptacle (basket, box or container) nearby to use as a landing zone for decluttering; put everything to be removed into that receptacle to make carrying to

   3. SET UP FOR SUCCESS

Section your counters into work stations: coffee, prep, washing, cooking, etc. and only store what you need in that space to perform the job within that section.  Make sure the stations are located near the cabinets/appliances that house tools to perform the tasks of the station.

Here’s an example of one of our happy clients’ kitchen counters after her makeover.

You, too, can have counters like this once you use the above steps!

Once you have re-established the purpose of your counters, cleared out the clutter and divided your counters into workstations, your kitchen can quickly become an efficient space where you can enjoy time with your friends or family and the delight of cooking wonderful meals.  DROP US A COMMENT and let us know how these easy steps worked for you.

Stay tuned for the next blog post in this series: HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR CABINETS and gain more ways that will maximize the efficiency in your kitchen.  Don’t lose any valuable time – receive the next post (and others) directly into your inbox! 

 

Organize Your Kitchen to Maximize Efficiency

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A 4-Part Series to Maximize the Efficiency in Your Kitchen

Kitchens are often referred to as the hub of our homes.  Most of us spend a huge bulk of our time in this vital room and often use it for many purposes.  As such, it can quickly become overcrowded & disorganized and the main purpose of the room can easily be lost in a sea of clutter.  I have developed a 4 part blog series that will help you overcome that challenge. 

THIS SERIES WILL INCLUDE posts showing you how to:

  • organize your cluttered countertops in 3 easy steps
  • layout the inside of your cabinets using the 3 C’s
  • create an effective landing zone 
  • set up your refrigerator to save space, time & money

THIS SERIES IS DESIGNED TO help you

Organize your kitchen to maximize its efficiency and create a space that will be easy for you to work and live in through guided, practical solutions.

If you suffer from…

    • countertops that are cluttered and disorganized
    • cabinets that are at their maximum storage capacity AND you still need more room
    • having too many papers in too many places all over the kitchen 
    • never seem to have what you need in the frig to make your meals

WE HAVE SOLUTIONS!

STAY TUNED… PART 1 of our series will be posted on FRIDAY.

TO GET IT DIRECTLY IN YOUR INBOX

MULTI-TASKING: Is it a Myth or a Reality?

MultitaskingThe other day while I was cooking, I found myself humming a tune and smiling; for some reason, it caught me off guard.  I took a moment to mentally observe what I was doing and realized that it probably stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t going in multiple directions performing multiple tasks; the modern concept known as multi-tasking (and my typical MO). 

Through the years I have found it necessary to cultivate this skill and have felt I mastered it well, but have I really and if I have, has it really gotten me as far as I thought?  These were the questions that I pondered as I finished the single task of making my delicious dinner.  I decided to explore more about this concept; I share with you four interesting findings I came across during my exploration.

FINDING #1

Did you know that the term ‘multi-tasking’ originated in the computer engineering industry?  It actually refers to the ability of a microprocessor to process several tasks simultaneously by rotating through those tasks many times per second.  The word actually was coined by IBM and appeared in print in 1965.  Having worked for IBM for many years and around large mainframe systems that did exactly what I describe, it was easy for me to picture this happening quite clearly.

Once I understood the meaning behind the terminology, I turned my exploration to the psychology behind the concept.

FiNDING #2

Extensive psychology research in the 1990’s showed that multi-tasking is not as workable as single-tasking.  Psychiatrist Edward M. Hallowell described it as a “mythical activity in which people believe they can perform two or more tasks simultaneously as effectively as one”.  A study done by the researchers at the University of Utah (published in the journal PLOS One) also concluded that those who multi-tasked the most in real life were actually much worse at juggling tasks than people who rarely multitasked.  It seems that there is much evidence to support that multitasking is not as beneficial as single tasking.  Interesting isn’t it?

Now on to exploring the physical side of multitasking.

FINDING #3

Physiologically, the brain is not capable of doing two tasks (of the same similarity) at the same time.  It can, however, process two dissimilar activities which often fools us into thinking we are “multi-tasking”.  This is where I began to see discrepancies in my findings; opinions quickly varied widely.  According to Vanderbilt University Psychologist, Rene Marois, when the brain “bottlenecks” in response to selection overload, it is then required to decide which activity is most important before completing each task and therefore cannot be trained to multi-task.  However, another Psychologist, Dr. David Meyer, of the University of Michigan, refutes ‘bottlenecking’ and instead introduces the idea that the brain experiences ‘adaptive executive control’ – placing priorities on each activity thereby making the brain trainable to multi-task.

So the question begins to form: Can our brain truly multi-task or can it not?  I turn to my own experiences and move into the more concrete world of everyday living to explore this question.

FINDING #4

My own personal experience has been that in order for me to accomplish more tasks, I needed to not only employ a multi-tasking technique, but to master it.  For many years I managed working full time, a family, a home and personal relationships.  If I hadn’t learned how to multi-task, too many things would fall through the cracks and I would not accomplish everything I needed to do.  Knowing this, I strongly believe that multitasking is possible.  The question then becomes:  Is multi-tasking as productive as we all think and does it actually save us time?

I found this article on MindTools.com that asks these very same questions and the information is fascinating.  (Don’t check it out until you’re done reading this post and commenting – no multitasking allowed here!)

Here’s what I conclude:

  • While multi-tasking may allow us to get more tasks done at once, the quality of our work is significantly diminished.
  • Multi-tasking significantly reduces our ability to focus and
  • It can actually rob us of time and dramatically increase our stress.

So, as I ponder this concept of multi-tasking and re-evaluate whether it actually helps my daily performance, I ask you this:

Do you find yourself multi-tasking more than you should? Do you think focusing on each task individually would bring you not only greater rewards, but less stress and maybe even greater happiness? Most importantly: Is  multi-tasking a myth or just OUR reality? I’d love to hear your thoughts…