Multitask – vb, to work at several different tasks simultaneously. (courtesy dictionary.com).
As a mother, I thought I was the queen of multitasking. Soothing kids while making dinner, rocking babies while writing blog posts, nursing while going to the bathroom (yes, I managed this a couple of times). When I started working last year, I assumed multitasking was the way to go, answer phone calls at the playground, sending media advisories while the kids are playing, cleaning the house while cooking dinner and playing Chutes & Ladders. No biggie. Right?
The last few weeks I have come to the realization that multitasking is a myth. The more I stretch myself between tasks, the less effective I am at completing them, or completing them well. I have tried to make a conscious effort to focus on one thing at a time. Whether it’s finishing up one work task before picking up the next, or dedicating time to household tasks, or spending time with the kids.
Sure, multitasking happens. There was getting the boys involved in the birthday party goody bag prep that ended up being an enjoyable joint activity while also getting something checked off the list. There was the cleaning the house while the boys had friends over for a play date (hello, distractions). And, of course, there was the taking a conference call while at a child’s birthday party with the 3 year old who, of course, had to make a trip to the potty. Thank goodness those editors had no idea what was going on on the other end of my muted line.
But if I’ve learned anything from these flex schedule work arrangement and mothering gigs, it’s that things always get done. Maybe not right when I want them to, sometimes late at night, but they always get done.
I’m learning to cut myself some slack and focus on one thing at a time. It’s a subtle difference to how I approach my day, but seems to be working.
Like right now. I’ve been typing this in the early hours while the kids are snuggled up beside me watching a little vacation morning TV. Think I’ll hit publish and join them under the blanket.
Time to focus.