Recently, I had to face a hard, highly inconvenient truth: I am not a multitasker. In fact, I'm not the best single-tasker, either. Believe me, I try. But the time has come to admit that I may never be like those perfect people out there who color-code their zillions of to-do lists and zip through them while I'm stuck in the drive-thru lane at Dunkin Donuts. Do I really, really hate these overachievers? Of course I do.
Okay, I lied. I don't hate them, because many are good friends of mine. They're always sympathetic and do a really good job of hiding their pity. Whenever I whine or beg them for advice--usually when I'm under some desperate deadline--they try their best to help me mend my scattered ways. "You just need to focus," they tell me. "You can do it. Block everything else out. It's not that hard. Really."
Of course, that's not the full story. There are ways to work around that single-task thing. You can work on making your brain work faster in switching between tasks. And if you pair a challenging task (say, writing a book) with a less-difficult one (listening to music), it can work out okay for some people. (Side note: Agatha Christie famously claimed she did her best book plotting while doing the dishes.) Oh, and shocker: creating to-do lists, color-coded or otherwise, is extremely useful.
So I may never be a multitasking queen, but I guess I'll keep trying. Maybe I've just been a little too hard on myself all this time. Baby steps, right?
LISA Q. MATHEWS lives in New England but sets her series The Ladies Smythe & Westin in sunny Florida. She is currently polishing her multitasking skills by writing several new mysteries at once. Her titles include CARDIAC ARREST, PERMANENTLY BOOKED, and the very latest, FASHIONABLY LATE.
So who has helpful multitasking pointers or--even better--crushing tales of defeat to share in the comments?