Multi-tasking. I do it all the time and typically I reap the benefits of it. But, lately and sadly, my multi-tasking has been getting me into trouble. We are not talking about the men in blue coming to get me kind of trouble or being corrected by my parents even though I am over the age of thirty kind of trouble, but the kind of messing it up, dropping of the ball, under-prepared, yet overwhelmed kind of trouble.
Multi-tasking is a must in the world we live in today. So many people want and expect so much from us, at the same time, that we have no choice, but to MULTI-TASK OR FAIL.
Right? Aren’t those the only two options? Most of he time it sure feels like that, doesn’t it?
As a parent, multi-tasking is imperative and is a regular, expected part of your daily day. Maybe you are multi-tasking because you have “too many” kids — yes, although highly inappropriate to tell anyone they have too many kids, some would say that having three, like myself, would qualify. Or, maybe you are multi-tasking because you have a challenging and time-consuming job in addition to your role as a parent. Or, it could be that you are multi-tasking merely because everyone else around you is and so you feel you should be too. Regardless your reason for multiple-tasking, you are doing it — and more often than not, you are doing it, day in and day out.
Not all multi-tasking is bad. In fact, I would even contend that there is so much good that comes out of it. There are pros and cons to it, just like anything else and most of them are pretty common sense. I am not going to go on and on and list each and every good and bad thing about multi-tasking — a lot of articles have been written on this and if you do your research, you will see each side of the coin, plus some.
For the sake of my time (as I am multi-tasking at the moment) and my respect for your precious time (with which you could be multi-tasking), I am going to simply provide you with the general gist of the “pros” which is that multi-tasking is good because you get a lot done (most of the time), it helps you be adaptable/flexible, helps you tackle high and low-priority tasks, at the same time, and it is fun. For the “cons,” well, sometimes the quality of your “work” declines, sometimes you can get overwhelmed, and sometimes it can actually slow you down. You know what else is bad about multi-tasking? Multi-tasking can lead to more errors and actually hurt relationships — a real-life example of such I will provide for you.
I have been so busy lately with my kids activities, my writing and the housework, that I have not been fully engaged and actually “present” in any in-person, phone or text conversations that I have been having. I will speak, respond, text, etc, but I have not been actively listening to those I am conversing with and I have definitely not been taking note of anything important that is/has been being said. Because of this, I flopped this weekend. Big time. I messed up the time of a birthday party for one of my children’s friends and it conflicted with vacation plans that my family had. Had I just stepped outside of myself for a hot second, I would have not made such a silly mistake. You know who did not find my mistake silly? My daughter, who cried because of my blunder and the mere thought that she was going to have to miss her best friend’s party.
This is one small example, but I can recall many, many times where my multi-tasking has gotten me into trouble. But, guess what? I am not going to stop multi-tasking. And, if you are a multi-tasker, I don’t think that you should stop either. But, what do I think? I think that there is a way to do multi-tasking right and a way to do it wrong. I think the problem has not been the mere fact that I have been multi-tasking, but rather that I have just been doing it wrong. Productive multi-tasking involves preparation, a plan B, C, and D, time blocking, organization and knowing when to stop engaging in it.
One of my new goals…to only multi-task the right way.
Are you a successful multi-tasker? If so, please, please, please, share any and all tips with me because I am in total need of them!