You’ve heard it. It’s the calling card of the 21st century. Multitask to increase productivity and efficiency. Your Mac can multitask. Can you?
Can you handle email, reports, calls, instant messages, research, and the digital interruptions of the modern work place? Does your Mac help you multitask, or decrease your productivity?
To be honest, looking at my work day, I don’t think my digital life can get much busier, even with a high powered Mac, a dozen open applications, and Mac power user status.
My Mac can handle all the multitasking tasks I throw at it and seldom blink, or do whatever Macs do when they’re under a bit of stress.
I’ve got a browser for research, an RSS reader to keep up on news, Mail, Microsoft Word and Excel working on reports and projections, Fireworks and Photoshop for some image work, MAMP for web development, iCal for scheduling, TextMate for editing, SuperDuper and ChronoSync for backing up (during the day).
Also open and in use is a list of necessary Mac tools; Preview, Skype with a video camera, NoteBook, Scrivener, Mori, Dictionary, ArtText, iPick, FreeRuler, QuickTime, and Disk Utility. There’s probably more.
Oh, iTunes is pumping but I can’t tell you what. But I paid for it so it must be new and hip and cool and worth listening to, right?
Am I getting anything done? Not as much as I want and not as much as I should and not as much as I expect to considering all this power and expense and efficient productivity that’s sitting at my fingertips.
What’s wrong? My Mac multistasks and I don’t… multitask… as well. If. At. All.
I’m not alone and it’s probably good that I don’t multitask too well, according to Steve Lohr in the NY Times. Multitasking, or the attempt at such, isn’t good for you.
Says who? Says David Meyer a cognitive scientist and director of the Brain, Cognition and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan. With a title that long, he’s probably right.
Apparently, there’s some difficulty with the human brain’s ability to concentrate on two things at once. That can’t be right, but probably is. If I had the time I’d look into it more.
The problem is, I’ve spent plenty of time, resources, money, training, and experience setting up a Mac power system so I could be a multitasking Gawd and now the researchers say it won’t work anyway.
They’re right. On my Mac I can handle a couple of things at once but that’s about it. All day long I bounce from feeding and grazing and gorging via Safari and RSS and email to seemingly perpetual brain dumping in half a dozen other Mac applications—sequentially, but all at the same time.
Does that makes sense? Does it sound familiar? Do I get anything done? Hey, I don’t even feel like I’m accomplishing anything of substance, let alone completing my list of activity tasks—true accomplishment of tasks are fewer and farther between.
How then, with all this digital power at my finger tips can I get things done. Hmmm. Wait. Getting things done. Ahhhh. Getting Things Done. GTD. Multitasking taboo. GTD. Doing things when you want to do them. That’s what that means.
Like a huge spotlight shining into my digital closet, illuminating the jogging shoes I couldn’t find, GTD finally means something. Guess what? Your Mac does GTD. That means you can do GTD, become more efficient, and less of a multitasker, yet more productive. How?
Essentially, the Getting Things Done method means putting your tasks, your work, into a Context. Do the tasks when you can be most efficient for that task. Don’t mix your Elmer’s with your Kool-Aid.
That actually makes sense. Not remarkably, the Mac has plenty of GTD applications, so I’m on a quest to find the one that works best for me. On my list are the following:
My quest for the next week is to try these and others that adhere to the Getting Things Done methodology and provide Mac360 readers with a report. In the meantime, help me out. What do you like for GTD and why? Add your tips and tricks to the Comments section below.