DO WE REALLY NEED TO MULTI-TASK?
“Not everything matters equally, and success isn’t a game won by whomever does the most. Yet that is exactly how most play it on a daily basis. Multi–tasking is the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time. You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once.”
SPOT on, right?! and, dare we say TRUE? I wanted to kick this off with a quote that really resonated with me. I talk about “multi-tasking” ALL of the time and consider it an essential skill set. But, is it? Or, does it come from our ever-growing need to do and see EVERYTHING via our cell phones and social media? I found an article on “single-tasking” and personal growth and how multitasking is overrated – even unrealistic. It was one of those articles that I read and made “hmmm” and “uhhuh” noises the whole time.
On a personal note, it makes complete sense. I’m constantly (attempting) multi-tasking. Actually, whatever is MORE than multi-tasking, is my usual speed. Waaaayyyy beyond hyper-speed…..bordering on INSANITY honestly….definitely in need of a support group:)
I’m in this state, totally distracted. I thought it was a fault of mine. Why can’t you focus on one thing at a time? Well, part of it is because I suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out an anything or everything), but a huge part is due to our culture. We’re taught that multi-tasking is a “super power”. It’s something we chat up to show our worth to others about how flexible and focused we are on a daily basis. To be honest, I’m dead certain I’ve even talked about how to get more done at once on this very blog! Apologies friends….it’s NOT what we should be focusing on.
In recent studies, multi-tasking is shown to divide our attention, interrupt the brain, and essentially, damages your physical and mental health. Ughh.
So what are we supposed to do? Single-task.
And, it’s just scary for me to think about single-tasking because I am aware that I stink at it. But, it sounds amazing. Think about it – not having your brain be responsible for several things at once (what?). Consuming one thing at a time. Focusing on one person at a time. Doesn’t it sound kind of fabulous?!
I’m not going to lie and tell you I’ve started to single-task. With the New Year and all, I was dying to share this post with you. So, rather than just sort of gloss over this amazing concept, I want to share some ideas. I’ve been taking inventory of the many times in my day where I just shift into multi-task. I am trying to “note” them in a journal so I can identify triggers…..don’t know if there are any…..just guessing. Aren’t there “triggers” for every thing we want to stop or fix?????? Just saying.
TaDaaa…some ideas for single-tasking and making life simpler in 2019:
- When on the phone, be on the phone, rather than trying to write a grocery list while checking Facebook and Instagram.
- Check emails at the end of a day, PERIOD. Don’t have tabs open all.day.long. Okay, NOT sure I can even do this….. But I think it’ll help to silence notifications on my phone and computer. That way, I won’t be distracted all day.
- Leave all distractions in the car when you are at coffee with friends. Or, on date nights (does anyone REALLY get those scheduled regularly???)
- Really listen to people, instead of thinking of my to-do list. Or glazing over……
- Brush my teeth. That’s it. No racing through the house picking things up or trying to get dressed on one foot at the same time.
- Go on runs/walks without manically playing with music and changing the song every two seconds. Or, just spend the first 5 minutes of your walk/run without ANY audio! Impressive, right? heehee I’ll let ya know.
- Make coffee. Get dressed. THEN check my emails. Not all three at once.
- Turn off Direct messages to my computer. I’m constantly replying while doing other work – My head may explode!
- Stand in line without checking my phone or reading some awful trash magazine looking for a distraction. Be patient. Same story when I’m waiting for food in the microwave.
- Don’t re-do lipstick in your vehicle. Promise me you’ll stop. Wake up 10 minutes earlier and do it in peace…in the bathroom. PERIOD. Like an adult.
- Cook dinner or any other meal without getting involved in list making or returning calls. I’m sure I’m pretty well known to the Fire Department …..my alarm system is connected and alerts when the temperature at home rises suddenly…..enough said. Darned alarm systems!
I’ve noticed that most of my personal multi-tasking issues arise around technology, which is obvious and interesting. It’s as though technology has shortened my attention span AND resulted in my need to multi-task and stay BUSY at all times.
Although I am secretly excited to see how I do with single-tasking and, more importantly, breaking the habit! It’s gonna be a tough one, but I think it’ll be refreshing to move more slowly and with more focus.
Is this something you’ve tried already? What is the ONE thing you did to break this vicious habit? I’d LOVE to know:)
Let’s cut it down a bit and stay sane!