On leaving high school, I made an interesting observation: My grades were higher when my schedule was busier.
It was easy to make the distinction between busy semesters and less busy semesters. You may have guessed based on reading around here for a bit that I’m a nerd. Befitting that, I was in the marching band in high school.
A marching band that was regularly the number one band in New England.
For those of you who have not been in a competitive marching band, it is very time consuming.
We practiced for three hours after school two days a week and practiced all day on Saturday.
Once competition season started, we would bus out to competitions on Saturday and Sunday each week.
Have you ever wondered why a project that you have two weeks to complete ends up taking the whole two weeks, when you can finish a similar project with a shorter deadline in 48 hours?
Remember when you had a whole semester to complete a paper for class? We would always plan to get it done early so that we weren’t writing our paper while also taking final exams. And yet, how many of us ended up still writing the night before the paper was due?
In my last post I discussed multitasking as something to avoid. I pulled one quote and one experiment to show that multitasking was bad and then moved on with my point.
As a lawyer, I feel the need to double back and support my argument. While many of you agreed, I recognize that I have not actually done the work to convince you that multitasking is, in fact, bad for productivity.
Everyone does it these days. There is so much going on and so many different sources of media that you can’t always help it.
Plus, aren’t you getting more done by doing multiple things at once? Doesn’t squeezing more things into the same time slot mean that you can accomplish more?
There is a quote attributed to Aristotle that is very popular in the online entrepreneur community lately.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
(It is actually a quote from Will Durant in a 1926 book providing his own summary of Aristotle’s position, but it sounds more powerful coming from a father of western philosopher than from a 20th century writer that nobody knows.)
The quote is nice. It sounds important and stresses habit building. Cool.