Alan's People Tools Blog

Multi-Goaling

People say I’m good at multitasking. I say, “Nonsense.”

I can only focus on one task at a time. I just switch from one task to another quickly. As my yoga teacher says, I can go from, “being Buddha to channeling a thunderstorm in one nanosecond.”

But aren’t we missing the point when we admire multitasking? I prefer multi-goaling. It’s far more effective than multitasking and extremely efficient. Consider an example.

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People With Goals Use People Without Goals

When my mind is occupied, a cross country airplane flight of five hours seems short. Otherwise the five hours seem long. On one such flight the movies were boring and the canned music dull, so I listened to a speech by a management consultant. One of his statements was, alone, worth the tedious 15 hours I seemed to have spent in my not-so-comfortable economy seat.

“People with goals use people without goals,” he said. This is one of those statements which seems obvious the moment you hear it. “People with goals use people without goals.”

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The Magic Piano

Years ago I owned, with my law partner and my brother, a cabin in the woods at Lake Arrowhead near Los Angeles. One of our first purchases was a player piano. Put in a roll and the keys would dance and the music played.

One day Kevin, the four year old son of my law partner, visited our cabin for the first time. I started a piano roll for him.

As soon as the music began Kevin’s eyes grew wide. He heard the piano playing, looked at the white and black keys racing wildly up and down, and said to me, “A magic piano. The kids at school are never going to believe this!”

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Catch the Up Elevator

Let’s go for joy and Catch the Up Elevator. And let’s do that without the cooperation of anyone else in the world. If you want it done right, do it yourself.

Where did you start your day today? Tenth story with a Happy View? Ground floor with Starbucks? The Basement of Gloom?

It makes no difference where you started because you can go up from there. Most of my days begin above ground level and end up higher. Especially when I get home in the evening to spend time with my wife and family. But every single day I am influenced either from the outside (by other people), or from the inside (by me).

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Experiencing Joy

When you experience joy in your life, what else do you really need?

When I was in the fourth grade I learned math from a thick grey book. The thin red answer book lay on the corner of my teacher’s desk. Life was simple then – one book of problems, one of answers. Today I sometimes don’t know if I’m even asking the right questions.

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