So I’m two and a half weeks into a new job, which is exciting: mostly because the organisation has lots of opportunities to have (more) impact, and has great, committed people to achieve that. Going back into a full-time job in an organisation has got me thinking about my approach / working methods, as well. I think freelancing helped improve my discipline (clarity on objectives, effective meetings, hit deadlines, invoice!), and I don’t want to lose that impetus and focus on delivery.
Such thoughts took me back to a recent visit (thanks to Liam Black and the Wavelength team) to the BBC, at which we heard from Ralph Rivera, who heads up all their online / digital work (Director of BBC Future Media, to be precise). There were plenty of nuggets from Ralph, but one I wrote down during the morning session was:
Focus on a few things / do them well (in the long-term) / get great at them / (kill the rest)
I hasten to add that those were my notes and not exactly Ralph’s words, and that the ‘kill the rest’ was very much tongue in cheek. But the point holds: the BBC could do any number of things in connection to digital, but that would mean distraction, a potential drop in quality, and scattered activity.
Someone else was pointing out to me that this is connected to the “myth of multitasking“; research increasingly shows that multitasking is not productive, that it just spreads activity across the surface of several things, rather than making substantive progress on one at a time. There is even some research that says that multitasking could actually be harmful to mental health, particularly where technology is concerned.