It’s a blessing and curse, truthfully. Anyone with this condition can surely relate.
The ability to do more than one thing at once is fabulous when you’re cooking, taking a business call and watching kids in the backyard. I used to revel in the joy of being able to lift my own personal “multi-tasking” bar, performing stunts that I would sometimes even marvel at.
But no more.
I have taking a vow against advanced or even intermediate multi-tasking. Why? Several reasons.
1. My brain hurts more regularly now when I try to do several complicated tasks at once. I don’t have the mental stamina, apparently!
2. Too many tasks at once usually equals poor quality execution and results across the board.
3. Completing one task before beginning another is exhiliarating, rather than not completing several at the same time.
There are other valid reasons, I’m sure but those are the main ones. Another MAIN reason and probably the BIGGEST reason is that kids notice when you aren’t paying attention or when they don’t have your full attention. Amazing isn’t it.
In today’s world of electronic devices, beeping, ringtones, shiny white objects with bells and whistles — it seems commonplace to watch a child play a screen game for example and then be given a task (by their parent). How many times does that task get done properly? Are they really listening or just hearing sounds coming from their parental figure?
While this drives me nuts as a parents, the reverse must make my kids crazy too. Gotta walk the walk right?
So as part of my personal multi-tasking intervention, I now regularly turn my Blackberry off. No vibration, no flashing lights, no nothing. This applies to when children are around and when I’m by myself.
I make a conscious effort — usually of the Herculean and Titanic variety (!!) to complete one task before going to the next.
I’m convinced that because of years of professional multi-tasking, I have placed myself in front of the line for advanced dementia!!!
Seriously, the brain only take so much and short-circuiting as you get older has got to be an issue.
And anyway when I belt out the words ‘focus’ to my kids in whatever task they may undertake, I need to practice what I preach.
So here’s to ‘one thing at at time’, ‘quality over quantity’ and ‘sanity over speed’.
Wish me luck!