Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on October 26, 2013

Just to mix it up, back in the early days of home computers, we all learned the saga of the CPU (central processing unit), the fact that inside a computer chip a myriad of events are taking place, but the microprocessor is so blindingly fast that in CPU time it seems like a long interval between each single event, like waiting all day for something to happen as measured in our time. That was before multiple-core CPUs were available. Today we have multiple processors all working together at once. And CPU tasking is just an analogy here.

In my own life I find it helpful to use what I call "organic multitasking," a term I made up which gives attention-priority to whatever task is needed from a teleological standpoint, kind of jumping around based on priority. However, factories don't do this. Instead it is more convenient to complete one short linear section at a time, rather than jump all over the place.

When we set up a factory or a tasking machine, the tendency is to break up the task into short linear tasks and complete each task. Multitasking (with multiple cores) would be doing each of these short linear tasks at the same time, and organic multi-tasking abandons linearity in favor of priority response. I will explain.

Organic multitasking is kind of how I live my life, responding to whatever comes to my attention at the moment. From a linear point of view this approach does not make much sense, because I often don't finish a particular task from A to Z, but more like crocheting, were we go all the way around the piece to add another row..

Instead of doing things linearly, I jump around, handling whatever seems to be emerging (emergency) in the moment, and then turning to what emerges in the next moment, and so on. I am crocheting tasks in a round-robin manner based on need and priority.

This is a kind of backward way from a linear point of view, but I find it very helpful in building businesses. Of course, again, like computer chips, having multi-core processing means I would have multiple processors (a team) handling multiple tasks at the same time. However, they still could be sequenced using organic multi-tasking.

I don't want to push this analogy too far, but I do want to share something about how I handle real-life situations. Of course I behave like a single-core processor, handling one task at a time, but I tend to do it organically, freely dropping a task to take up another as it seizes the moment. I follow my intuition, if I can afford to and often even when I can't afford to. In the long run, intuition wins out.

This process reminds me a little of those new machines that "print" objects, where you see the whole object appearing all over its shape. It is quite magical to behold. Thus I appear to be doing a multitude of tasks one at a time as priorities dictate. Or it might look like I can't make up my mind what to do. LOL.

I am sure many of you do this as well, and something like Facebook can illustrate this. Having multiple chat windows open simultaneously is a good example. You service one, another pops up and you service that while waiting for the previous chat window to respond or the next chat window to appear. This is an example of organic-multitasking, taking care of what appears to require your attention at the moment.

I found this a useful way for startup businesses, addressing what most needs attention at the moment, within reason of course. For example, I might be designing a product when the need for a finished (and snappy) logo comes up. So I put the product design on hold while I drill down and complete the logo, and then return to the design.

This is especially useful when meeting the demands of competition in the marketplace. Using organic multi-tasking I can get my foot in more than one door at a time, and I actually need to do that to be competitive.

Usually we think in terms of building from the ground up, putting the finishing touches on last. But in my vision of organic multi-tasking, we build everything at once, and may find ourselves fashioning what will be on the tip of the top of the project before the foundation is completed.

One beneficial side effect of this approach is that each task has a kind of fresh feeling to it, as opposed to slogging our way through a task beyond what we feel like doing – finishing just to finish.

Joy in creation should never be underestimated, and organic multi-tasking keeps us on the living edge of the moment, tuned to what actually requires our attention.

Lest you think I have no discipline and all of this is just "Blue Sky" chatter on my part, remember that I founded many businesses that required extreme discipline. Two examples would be the All-Music Guide (allmusic.com), which details every music recording from 10-inch records onward, literally millions of fields of information. This is the largest collection of music data on the planet, detailing albums, tracks, samples, sideman, biographies, and much more. In the beginning I did this all by myself, but there was a lot of linear processing back them. I can remember one stretch of time when I entered 18,000 jazz albums into the database, including album sideman and tracks – that kind of thing.

And then there is the All-Movie Guide (allmovie.com) which documents every movie (complete cast and characters) ever made, one of the two largest movie sites in the world. And there is ClassicPosters.com, and etc. I could go on.

Very few people have dealt with tedium as those businesses have required, so I have a solid foundation to spring from. When I sold the company and left, I had 150 full-time employees and over 500 freelance writers working together. My point is that my interest in organic multi-tasking is not just will-o-the-wisp thinking on my part, but tried and true practice.

It does, however, depend a lot on intuition and learning to trust my intuition, but there are only good reasons to do that. And in my experience, nothing hones intuition better than learning mind training, learning to be present and respond to the present every instant.

Here is a little poem that just came up just now, of course, quite organically.


The present "Is,"
Never too early,
And never too late.

And just to make it rhyme,
It's always right on time.
Michael Erlewine
October 25, 2013