eric pulsifer

Author, novelist, recovering print journalist. Recently "came out" as an alien and most people believe it. From Riverside, CA but Charleston SC is home no matter what the Californians say.

Nov 112015
Let's see ... working at the computer. While on the phone. While listening to something. Good luck with that.

Let’s see … working at the computer. While on the phone. While listening to something. Good luck with that.

I think it was in the 1980s or 90s when McDonalds tried to expand its dinner menu. With pizza.

Many fast food aficionados were waiting in line for that first slice. Myself? Not so much, but that’s only because I’m something of a downer.

“Well,” I remember saying, “That’ll be two things it can’t do.”

When people talk of multitasking these days, I still think about McDonalds pizza. (If all this is making you hungry, you can still get McDonalds pizza in West Virginia and in Ohio.)

When people mention multitasking, I flash back to Mickey D’s pizza abortion. Trying to do too many things usually means nothing gets done. At least not well.

Is this what your brain becomes after multitasking enough?

Is this what your brain becomes after multitasking enough?

But in the day-job world, they like multitaskers. If you can do many things at once, so much the better. With today’s uncertain economy, employers want the workers to take on more tasks to offset labor costs and replace a few people. Without the bump in pay, of course.

If you’re the creative/artistic type, multitasking is also a big deal. So many irons in the fire, and we may be more prone to squirrel-chasing than the average person.

Here’s the deal. You’re really not multitasking. You’re switching back and forth from one task to another. You’re switching from email to writing, from Facebook to playing music, from taking that robo-call to getting back to work.

Okay. So what? Maybe this article from Fast Company gives you a clue:

“We found about 82 percent of all interrupted work is resumed on the same day. But here’s the bad news — it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.”

Wow. That’s almost a half hour. Per switch. Considering the number of switches you’re asked to do in a day, how does anything get done?

It’s official. You interrupt me, I charge you for a half hour at my going rate. Time and a half for ticking me off.

Think a 9-to-5 boss will go for that?

How about that robo-caller?

Applications …

So how do I cope with those interruptions? I share my favorite method in my email newsletter, plus I have a whole bunch of linkage and further reading.

View the latest issue here. If you like what you see, subscribe there.


Jul 312015

I’m here. Now what?

It’s really weird how it happens. I’m on top of the mountain and things never look the same/

It’s always fun nailing a big goal or finishing that huge project, but then I have no idea what I’m supposed to do next.

My own career track — and later my frelance pattern — runs something like this:

1) Work like a deranged beaver toward some goal.

2) Achieve said goal.

3) Decompress.

4) Holy crap, this job suddenly got difficult and I can’t stay interested.

5) Not giving a rip.

6) Career change just to keep me interested in something.

Maybe I’m not the most stable person around, but a Harvard Business Review piece suggests it’s not just me:

“High-stress situations and the adrenaline rush they produce can be addictive. When the constant sense of urgency we’ve adapted to comes to an abrupt halt, we experience withdrawal.”

Okay, so I’m an adrenaline junkie. Tell me something new.

But again, I’m not the only crazy fool around here. A 30-year-old Michael Jordan did this in ’93 when he abruptly retired from basketball. He wanted to try his hand at baseball (and the tabloids suggested he had other reasons for quitting) but he’d already established himself as the best baller known to man. So what’s a guy like that do next?

HBR suggests things like gearing down a little to restock the pond, finding a fresh new project or being a mentor.

I don’t have a real answer here. Best thing I can think of is to do it again. While I was doing final draft on my most recent fiction work I was already scribbling out scenarios for the next one. Fifteen days after hitting Publish I was pounding on the typewriter for yet another first draft. So I had 15 days to decompress, semi-sorta outline, prewrite some scenes and maybe take a day or two off. Oh yes, and do a little something to celebrate and mark the occasion. Can’t forget that. But get ready to hit that next project.

How about you? Any suggestions or ideas? Please share.

Jun 202015

You might have noticed some changes with this site. Like maybe it took you a while to find it.

Then, the name change. And if you care about such things, the Web addy is also different.

Let’s attack these in order. I am getting rid of the domain name because it’s really kind of redundant. Why not just put the blog under my main website and let the subdomains fall where they may?

Then there’s the whole name change. As soon as I got the domain I regretted it. I mean it rolls off the tongue like ground glass. The Creativity Wars sounds much better and it’s a lot more descriptive.

Because it’s really a war out there.

You vs. Resistance.

You vs. you.

But we’ll discuss that more.