25 Feb Doing Things the Right Way
I saw this quote again in an email this week:
“If a thing’s worth doing at all, it’s worth doing well.” Evelyn Waugh, writer
Every time I see it, I stop to think about it and decide that he is right – and probably even more so in today’s world. Everything is so fast paced; everything is happening so fast that we get in the mode of “just get it done.” But “just get it done” isn’t always done well.
I find myself guilty of just finishing some things so I can move on to the next project. But if I go back and look at what I have finished, would I take complete pride in it? In my career, I have always held myself accountable for the work I do – that if I was working on something, I would get it done to the best of my ability. But if you’re just getting it done, is it the best it can be? Maybe. Maybe not.
I have had employers insist on “multi-tasking.” You need to be able to work on multiple projects at the same time. But I have seen several studies that have referred to multi-tasking as a delusion. In an article on NPR, neuroscientist Earl Miller said, “People can’t multitask very well, and when people say they can, they’re deluding themselves.” Miller asserts that what we can do is switch between projects very quickly, which is not exactly the same as multi-tasking.
I ask myself what happens if I take more time to focus on what I am working on. Could the next project wait just 15 or 20 minutes so I can give the current project the necessary attention? I think about this at home as well. In the evenings, with the kids, how much would it mean to them if I sat down to do homework with them rather than trying to wash dishes while I answer their questions over my shoulder? Because really, the thing in my life worth the most attention is my family. It’s easy to lose track of that as we try to get so much done in so little time.
I challenge myself to be more present in whatever it is I am doing, whether I am at work or at home. Both deserve my full attention and focus. Because I truly believe that if something is worth doing, it is work doing well.