Multitasking = Multifailing

This morning, I was late. Late for just about everything. Late getting up, late getting out of the shower, late getting dressed. And on top of that, I tried to prepare some breakfast, feed my cockatoos and make my wife a cup of tea. All at the same time. So just imagine how I felt when my phone rang, one of my cockatoos escaped, my breakfast fell on the floor and I spilt my wife's tea down my suit, breaking her favourite mug in the process.

After dealing with the phone call, running after the bird, mopping up the mess, making my wife a new cup of tea, changing into a clean suit, I finally went to work. I skipped breakfast. In the car, I knew I was going to get stuck in the usual traffic jam, so I got my sat-nav out and tried to get it to find me an alternative route. Just as I got a result, I missed the turn, so I had no choice but to repeat the process. Since my sat-nav is not the most up-to-date, I had to re-type my destination by hand. I am not the best of typists, so it took a while, and a great deal of concentration. By now, you may have already guessed what happened next...: I did not pay attention to the traffic, and did not see the brake lights in front of me. Too late! I ran into the back of the car in front. Not too fast, the damage was limited and, most importantly; no one was injured. I got to work very late - too late for my first meeting and had to gesture an apology to my manager, who was chairing the meeting. I was not looking forward to the meeting he'd already set with me for later this afternoon...

This morning's events made one thing clear to me. Something I already knew: I cannot multitask! I should have left the phone ringing when I had my hands full of tea and breakfast. I should not have tried to catch the cockatoo with my suit on - I had had the same experience before when the bird pooed on me! And I should not have tried to operate my sat-nav whilst driving.

When I finally found a spare workstation after the meeting, it was right next to the coffee corner. Not the most sought after of workstations, because of all the colleagues who gather there to get a cup of coffee and linger on to talk to one other. Which made it virtually impossible to get some real work done. As it happened, I had to review a proposal that we had received for a large order for an important customer. And my review had to be ready today! On top of that, my phone seemed to not stop ringing. Normally, I welcome any phone call, because it could be the next order confirmation, or someone who would like to talk to me about a proposition. But today, just for once, I would like to have had some peace to concentrate on this review.

In the afternoon, I had to face my manager in our meeting. I had not finished my review and on top of that, remember, I had to apologise in person for being late for his meeting this morning. So I started to tell him about my day. About my breakfast, my cockatoos, my wife's tea and the accident on the road. Then, I tried to explain why I hadn't finished the review and about all the phone calls. But before I finished, he interrupted me. I feared the worst. "So, you cannot multitask? What's new...!", he started by stating the obvious. I did not react. But then he continued: "Could you please have a look at this", he said. "I know you have been keen to get involved in this matter and your experiences today are proof of that, so I would like you to get stuck in. We are wasting enough time and money as it is!" To my surprise, he handed me a brochure of something called "PersonalOfficeSpace". Just the thing I could have done with today, to concentrate on my review! A PersonalOfficeSpace is a self contained, soundproof, modular unit, where an individual can work and not be disturbed by the noises and distractions of the workplace. It comes in various shapes and sizes, depending on what you need it for and can be finished to blend into any office environment. Brilliant!

I had a look at the website and made up my mind. This time, my review was quick and direct: "How many do we need and when can they be delivered?" My manager smiled, promised to get the Purchasing Department involved, and take this opportunity to provide the much-required tools for us to get our work done. Better, quicker, more efficient and more cost effective. It really made my day.

Just in case you wondered; I did get my cockatoo back in its cage. They are both in the picture above. They are called Darwin and Noosa. ;-)