Putting the Brakes on Multitasking
When I’m on top of the world, commanding the forces, I’m a real smooth operator. With the skill of a maestro I conduct a symphony of emails, text messages, school lessons, lunches, brunches and so much more! How do I do it all? I’m awesome, that’s how! Or at least that’s the message my ego keeps sending me while I ‘expertly’ multitask so many things.
It’s easy to be seduced by the rush that often accompanies multitasking. Let’s be honest, it feels good to get stuff done! However, researchers continue to explore the long term impact of trying to do multiple tasks at once, and the results are not encouraging. Not only is multitasking an illusion (it seems we can only do one thing properly at a time), it actually decreases overall effectiveness. Studies show that as the brain switches rapidly between several tasks, our short term memory becomes compromised. Basically we begin to forget what we are doing; which explains why I so easily forget that I placed something on the stove-top, once I start doing something else. Oh, the dinners I’ve burned!
Giving our complete attention to only one thing at a time isn’t easy, no matter how often we are warned by the data. It requires slowing down, being humble, and accepting what we do not have control over. The day will end; time will run out, and without fail, there will be things left undone.
So how do we get everything accomplished if multitasking is not the best way? Here are three easy-to-do tips.
From top to bottom, a list gives structure to tasks and can serve as a visual reminder that however many things there are to do; only one can be at the top of the list at a time. Lists also force us to assign value to a task and determine where it should rank. It is often hard to discern what is really important. I regularly find myself stopping throughout the day to ask, “Is this the best use of my time?” And it’s not because I’m binge-watching episodes of Scandal! There are things that truly need to be done, but not right this minute.
I personally use the timer app on my cell phone to keep track of how many minutes or hours I give to a particular thing. While I may want to spend the entire afternoon reading, I may only be able to dedicate an hour. Keeping a handle on the amount of time spent on a task allows us to achieve that much desired feeling of accomplishment, while protecting the quality of our interactions and our work.
Homeschooling moms tend to be wrongly perceived as super women who never drop the ball and who never need help. Don’t let this misconception trap you! Involve others in as many things on your list as you can. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much better than you other folks are at doing things. Especially, involve the kids whenever possible! Let go of the need to see things done perfectly and be happy that things are finally getting D.O.N.E.!
Latasha Strachan As a writer, teacher, and speaker, Latasha is driven by her desire to see women connect, inspire, and empower each other in God’s Spirit of love and unity. Her prayer is that women will become passionate about living free and honest lives through God’s power, mercy and grace. She and her husband Ian live in sunny Nassau, Bahamas and have shared just over a decade riding the phenomenal roller-coaster called ‘marriage’. They are on a wild yet fulfilling journey as they parent and homeschool three exceptionally energetic boys! You can visit her blog: www.latashastrachan.com.