Should We Multi-Task?Jan 13, 2021
Producers and creatives spend a lot of time creating consistent, smooth and relevant segues in music, film and TV.
Segue: To make a transition without interruption from one activity, topic, scene, or part to another.
We're sensitive to disruption. Even in casual conversations, it's awkward when one person interrupts with a completely irrelevant topic that hijacks the flow you were in. Most people have developed skills to gradually steer a conversation from one topic to another.
But do you ever think about segues or transitions in relation to your own daily routine?
The busier we get and the more roles we juggle, the more a simple, structured transition practice can help.
I find it difficult to transition from mum role to business owner role, and back again when I'm working from home. There is definitely a period of time and productivity lost in the switch between seeing the kids to school and getting down to business. There's also a clear lack of presence with my kids as I slow down the work train and tune in to what's going on with them as they arrive home.
If you travel to work, often the commute from home to the workplace is a transition. A time that you leave home life behind and begin to get into work mode.
So, let's get creative about how you can transition from one role to the next smoothly.
Physical cues: For me, putting my makeup on and wearing specific clothes for each role can be helpful. As I go through my makeup routine I'm getting into work mode. If I'm already dressed, making a hot drink to bring to my desk is another cue for transition in the morning. It can also cue a break away, as I get up from my desk to make a coffee.
As my husband walks through the door from work, he strips to his underpants, a signal that he's home and has no intention of going out again. Our kids started doing this as they returned from being out as well. It's a simple, but clear segue the whole family recognises. If my husband comes home from work but still has a reason to stay dress, he puts his bag down and goes straight to unpack the dishwasher, or tidy the kitchen. We can all tell he's still in his head, but he's transitioning.
Environment Cues: We all take cues from our environment. If we walk into a room with high back chairs positioned around a boardroom table, we know what's expected of us is different than if we walked into a room with armchairs positioned around coffee tables.
If I'm sitting at a clear desk with all my ergonomic tech in place, my body knows I'm set up for a focussed writing session. The clearing of the desk is part of the transition into this mode. If I'm at the dining table or on the couch, it's more likely that I'm doing work that requires less focus.
Moving from one environment to another is also a helpful transition. If I'm trying to leave work behind and be present with the kids, I'll take the kids for a walk, swim or bike ride. Physically moving away from phones and computers means I get a few extra moments to change gears, get out of my head and become more present.
Find what works for you. Most of us already have ways we transition from one role or task to the next. We use them when there are high stakes, we fall back on them when we're sick of procrasting. Yet, despite how effective they can be, we don't always use them consciously or consistently.
How are you going to transition away from reading this post, and towards doing the one thing that is most likely to move the needle on your business today?