The Multi-Tasking Myth

 

Myth – A traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon 

Had I touched on this topic a few months ago, you may have flagged this post for siting inaccurate information. By now we all have had several weeks of zoom work meetings, substitute teaching and housekeeping under our belts. I’m no Miss Cleo but something tells me we are ready for this conversation. The ability to successfully multi-task is a MYTH.

Aside from providing my passengers a Vegas-like concert while driving, (you’re welcome) I refuse to multi-task. I am and have been for some time a proud “single-tasker”. One may argue that you can do double the amount of work in half the time but, can you? A study by Bryan College notes that multi-tasking lowers IQs by 15pts during cognitive tasks and decreases emotional intelligence and brain density over time. Still not sold?

The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving is the cause for 1.6 million accidents annually. That should prompt a multi-tasking reevaluation, right? No? Sadly, we have dug so deep into the multi-tasking myth that not even the risk of danger while operating a 2-ton machine can stop us. It’s time for a new normal is so many aspects of our lives, let’s add this to the list.

Since I’ve tuned into my tunnel vision, my ability to recall steps of a process has increased tenfold. I can now review, if needed, a way to streamline most things in my life. I don’t go to sleep with the pit of an unaccomplished day in my stomach nearly as much. My connections have been stronger and I can’t even remember the last time I’ve asked someone to repeat themselves. It took time for those around me to adjust. I answer fewer phone calls and maybe slower to respond to messages, but when I do that’s all I’m doing. (My next blog will touch on boundaries.) Those around me reap the benefits of having my undivided attention. The late, great, and still amazing Mr. Rogers said it best during an interview. “I’m talking to you, so right now you are the most important person to me.” Our conversation is the most important thing to me right now.”

So how do you get off the multi-tasking hype hamster wheel? Start first with identifying when you multi-task.{disclaimer you can totally fold laundry while watching Road Trippin’ With The Rudes videos, that is the only exception} Look at the tasks and choose which is the priority. If you are like me, tracking it will make you a believer. (Anyone else singing “Don’t stop believing” now?) Here’s what works for me. On Sunday’s I review the previous week and prep for the upcoming week. I normally do this in the morning before the girls wake up or by hiding in the bathroom. Each night I work on my “to-do” list for the next day. 

Plot twist I also sent a to-do list to my family members. What I found while identifying when I multi-tasked was that often it was because I couldn’t/didn’t ask for help. Not only was I not asking for help building up resentment and exhaustion for me but it was hindering growth for those around me. The girls aren’t going to be home forever, they need these skills. As much as I love cleaning the kitchen (kidding), I can’t be selfish. I keep it super simple, there is no competition for the longest to-do list. I also allow for the sometimes hourly tantrums, first world problem break downs & “Babe, have you seen my…”. 

Initially, it may seem easier said than done but give it at least a month. Think of all the times we dedicated hours of our lives watching seasons worth of t.v. only to have a disappointing series finale, i.e. G.O.T. Trust me this is going to be a game-changer, try it for your brain density at least. Be sure to update me on your journey. “Mommin’ Ain’t Easy” but saying “no” to overextending yourself absolutely can be.


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