Multi-tasking vs. multi-focusing & finding joy in the hard work: an interview with Emilie Wapnick

Hello there! How’s your November going so far? I gotta tell ya, I’m getting whipped into shape and I am loving it. If you’re going to jump on one last class/course this year, make it the Morning Whip – you’ll thank me later!

Today I’m bringing you an interview with Emilie Wapnick, multipotentialite blogger & professional multi-tasker extraordinaire. She’s pretty much amazing!

(Interview is 15 minutes, 33 seconds.)

Interview with Emilie Wapnick of Puttylike


She uses a nice moleskine to keep track of her ideas – a backburner list.

She also schedules in “scanning time” during a day – when she doesn’t need to focus on priorities or a specific project & she can dabble, explore, and play with ideas. This keeps her from getting distracted during the rest of the day.

When she reaches the end of a moleskine, she goes back and looks through her ideas to see if there’s anything she wants to carry forward to the next notebook.

She distinguishes between scanning mode & focused mode – for her, there’s a huge distinction between multi-tasking and multi-focusing. Multi-focusing is when you’re focused on one thing, even for a very short period of time, and then you switch your focus later – this is how she makes progress on all of her projects.

The joy comes from doing the work – not so much the results. If you can find joy in the hard work, the trenches, the hustling, that’s where you’ll get the pleasure and that helps prevent overwhelm. Don’t think about the big things while you’re trying to work – if you can have a specific time to think about the big vision to stay + keep inspired, it’ll keep you going without getting overwhelmed.

Don’t take on too much! Be aware of your limits & don’t overbook yourself.

When writing down to-do lists, focus on the big items or group items together so that you don’t have a huge-looking list that causes stress + overwhelm.

The sooner you can go from an inspiring ritual to working, the better off you’ll be!

You can see more of Emilie at Puttylike, and be sure to check out her book Renaissance Business! (affiliate link, because I’ve read & loved it.)


  1. Great interview, Michelle! I especially liked the comment about being aware of your limits and not taking on too much: that’s my constant pattern!


    • I think a lot of people have trouble with that, myself included! It’s just so much easier to do if you have multiple projects and interests on your plate, like Scanners tend to do.


  2. I do that notebook thing! Mine’s a tatty spiral-bound one, but I make my wild notes in it, then review when I hit the end. It’s super-helpful for those fleeting thoughts that are awesome but not strong enough to reassert themselves later. Dig it!


    • Yup – notebooks are my #1 productivity/idea tool. I love me some digital tools but you just can’t replace a good old notebook!


  3. I really like the concept of multi-focusing, I seem to do that naturally and find that short bursts of focus allow my thoughts to simmer and cohere sort of ‘outside of my mind’ so that when I draw upon them again later, they’ve effortlessly evolved!


    • Definitely! I find the same thing with the evolution of ideas/projects – leaving them alone for a while is a vital part of growth and getting the idea to where it wants to go.


    • It IS incredibly easy to forget them if we don’t write (or type) them down – they just slip away like a will’o the wisp. There are a lot of people that say if something is important enough you’ll remember it no matter what, but that’s not usually my experience 😉


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