I’ve got work to do. But there’s people I need to spend time with. The way to not manage that is to do both things at once.
Yes, I could do some low-level work while “spending time” with a friend. But then, neither of those activities is done to the best of my ability. The person I’m with gets a sliver of your attention. What they’re saying—and not saying—isn’t heard. They don’t feel appreciated or valued because I’m not giving them anything. I’m only half aware of them.
And the work won’t get done well. I need to keep half of my brain cells on the other person. So I end up switching between deciding how to respond to this kinda-important email and remembering what they just said. I’ll make mistakes. My ideas will be weak. I’ll miss the little things involved in the work.
If you’ve got many things to do, don’t multitask. If you’re spending time with someone, focus on them like a laser beam. Give them all of your attention. If you’ve got admin tasks to do, do them and nothing else. Seclude yourself and smash them out. Don’t try to do both.
Full engagement is a necessity for doing high quality work. And for spending quality time with people you care about. Stop splitting yourself in two.