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If you’re a millennial that’s lucky enough to have a job that requires you to sit a computer for most of the day, you’re bound to multitask. By multitask I mean work on things that the job requires of you and possibly do your own thing. No need to be shy, we all do it. Today I’m sharing my story.
It All Started in High School
My multitasking started back in high school. I was one of the first kids in my school to request bringing a laptop to school, you know, to take notes. At first that’s what it really was for. I liked to think of myself as tech savvy back then, and my handwriting wasn’t the best.
I proposed my idea to the vice principal and she allowed me to have my computer in class to take notes in classes like English, History, etc. Because I could now type faster than most kids could write, I found myself with a little more time in class.
I spent that time writing other things because I still wanted to be a writer at the time. This proved to be harmless because I could just pass it off as an English assignment. It made me look good and actually helped my typing speed.
Continuing Into College
But what started in high school followed me to college. Seeing as computers were more accepted in most college classes, it was super easy to continue my multitasking habit. I did assignments for other classes and wrote music during this time.
The key to multitasking here was to appear as though I was focused on the topic at hand. In English classes longer form content was key. In Business classes shorter form things and things that didn’t require much effort were more my style.
While I did learn a lot in college, one of the things was how to appear busy. In essence, I learned how to bullshit on a professional level. I say that while still graduating with a 3.8 GPA. I don’t want to give off the wrong impression. I did my work, I just did other things as well.
The Art of Multitasking at Work
My marketing degree allowed me the opportunity to work from behind a computer. Admittedly for the first 2 jobs out of college I was working on my own machine. This gave me the impression that it was ok to do as I wanted because the machine was mine.
I still respected the fact that I was at work. I didn’t go crazy, but if I wanted to have the Twitter app open during work, I didn’t think it was a problem. If I wanted to leave an interesting blog article up while I was working, it was no biggie.
I did everything from watch videos on YouTube to learn completely new skills in Photoshop, Final Cut Pro X, and Adobe Premiere. I was great. I was doing a job I enjoyed, being entertained and learning new skills. It was perfect.
Getting Caught Multitasking at Work
In my second job, I was notified by my supervisor that someone had said something about me watching videos while at work. This was the first time I had be caught and confronted. I didn’t know what to do. At the time, I didn’t have enough work to fill my day so I spread my work out and supplemented my time with videos.
What the person who reported me failed to understand was that I was actually watching content relevant to my job. I explained that to my supervisor and they told me to keep the video watching to a minimum.
This conversation made me turn to something other than videos, podcasts. I dove down the rabbit hole of podcasts head first. I started listening to business podcasts, entertainment podcasts, interview centered podcasts, etc. I started taking notes from the most educational ones. I even learned a few things. I guess I should thank that person for trying to get me in trouble.
What About Now
I’m still a multitask-er. If we’re being completely honest I write some of this blog while at work. I always make sure that my work is done before jotting down ideas or doing research. My job is always the priority because it helps me put food on my table.
However, I hate mindlessly wasting time and scrolling the internet for hours. I would much rather create a project or work on something meaningful and personal than waste time. In my eyes, it’s personal developement.
While working for someone else, I was able to come up with an idea for a content platform, and then create content for said platform. I’m working on my my professional writing. I’m working on organizing ideas. All of the skills I just mentioned are used in my job day to day and working on my own personal things are only sharpening those skills.
I do want to say that you should do the job you were hired to do. I am not an advocate of using the company time and resources solely for personal use and gain. But if you run out of things to do and end up wasting an hour or two on social media, I might consider picking up another project to help hone your skills and pass the time.