There’s always one more thing to do, right? Whether it’s work or play, we can pile on tasks and multiply activities until we are just a bumbling mess jumping from one thing to another leaving a trail of exhaustion, confusion, frustration and a little bit of amnesia.
Of course we live in a world where there are so many demands. Work, family, social, sports, bills, garbage night, parent/teacher meeting, Medicare queues, call centre waiting times (press 9 to blow up this phone) and so on.
It’s funny how today we think that just because we CAN multi task, that we SHOULD. And while I’m all for progress and productivity, could it be that we are adding on more stress than we can handle, and expect way too much of ourselves and each other? Have a look at today’s multi taskers and see if you fit the bill:
The Corporate Multi Tasker
Typing away checking emails, whilst chewing a sandwich at your desk, checking your phone every 5 minutes, answering calls, whilst chatting to other cubicle dwellers about what’s on the for the weekend and tipping the keyboard upside down to empty it from crumbs and various food debris.
The Mum Multi Tasker
(I have done this before) Feeding baby, whilst feeding self or throwing down a glass of water/wine, singing along to Dinosaur Train, scrolling through your Facebook feed, puree veg/fruit cooking on the stove, with the washing machine going and yelling at the dog wiping his bum on the floor, yet again *rolls eyes*
The Living Young & Free Multi Tasker
Sitting on the couch enjoying the company of friends, as you’re checking the #gymselfies on Instagram- oh look an SMS about Saturday night – oh look a Whatsapp notification from my soccer group – oh look a cool ad on TV for deodorant that makes me more attractive to women – oh look, a hot babe 1km away on Tinder – oh look, Netflix have added the latest season of Modern Family – oh look, Nike is having an online sale *turns to friends on couch* “I’m sorry, who are you?”
*PAUSE* Attention deficit much?
Living in a ‘Technology World’ indeed makes the pace of our lives faster, more intertwined and connected, yet it can also leave us feeling like there’s an never-ending list of things to do. The blaring notifications constantly going off, trying to pull our eyeballs in all different directions can add to the burden of household tasks that also demand our attention.
While we can think that multi tasking allows us to reach our goals faster and get more done in less time, quite often it can bring a lot of stress and pressure that hinders progress. Not only that, multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time.
Ladies and gentlemen (but mostly ladies) let me repeat that: your brain can only focus on one thing at a time.
Everybody just take a nice, deep breath in…. (no this isn’t permission to check your Facebook)… Now breath out. Just STOP for a minute and really think about what you’re doing. Now, focus on the task you’re doing right now (reading this) and push everything else out of your mind.
It’s hard huh? Thinking about dinner, need to text the parents to tell them you’ll be home late, oh, did I wear deodorant today?
Let me assure you, it is possible to live in the today and now, practice mindfulness and feel less stressed by simply doing one task at a time. “You vile woman, how could you propose such a thing!” barks a mob of busy mums with a 500 bullet point list of things to do.
It is true. Try and prioritise your tasks, focus on what can be done today and let go of the rest (and by let go I mean write it down on tomorrow’s list). Just take a step back and realise that it’s actually 100% OK to not do everything, be everything and have everything perfected. It’s actually normal. It’s called being a human being. The biggest issue when it comes to multi tasking is the expectations we place on ourselves, so, do yourself a favour and lighten your load a bit. Do what you can, and forgive yourself for the rest. Put your feet up, and learn to be OK with what can’t be done and you will live more happy and content.