Getting Focused on Dividing our Attention

Yep…that’s a yak.
cc license, Rob Blatt

A Sydney friend, Josh Capelin, gave a talk at the last local Pecha Kucha about yak shaving. It inspired me to write a blog post and share a few thoughts on multi-tasking related to professional lives. That was five months ago and I’ve been putting it off. You’ll see the irony in minute here, let me explain…

People sometimes frown upon taking on too many projects at once. It goes against the idea of getting focused and seeing something through from start to finish. However, I would tend to agree that I would rather move a few inches across several projects that a mile on one.  My mind isn’t scattered, but rather always thinking, dreaming and scheming.

Josh spoke about the many jobs and projects he has taken on. Some might view this is a journey – a path to figuring out what we want to achieve in life or where our careers will take us. This assumes that we are taking this disorganised journey to get somewhere, when perhaps this actually just life. I’m not convinced it’s always a bad thing to get distracted by the details and end up walking around in circles for a while. We choose to wear many hats at once.

I was at a talk by Frank Chimero during Vivid Sydney that I really enjoyed.  He had this great message around how he does things the “long, hard and stupid way” this is some of his best work. So perhaps when we are yak shaving and dividing our attention this is also some of our best work.

What do you think? Is this a phase we work through or a way to work? 


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