As I was sitting on the loo this morning, scrolling through my news feed on Facebook and trying to determine which task I would tackle first (out of the many which needed to be completed in order for the kids and myself to get out the door on time) it occurred to me that I spend the majority of my life doing exactly this – Multi-tasking!
Very seldom am I doing just one thing at a time and hardly ever am I doing nothing. Yes, nothing. It seems like a foreign concept these days but back when I was little often when we were waiting for something we had to sit and do NOTHING!
That brings me to waiting. Do you remember waiting? Do you remember how you just had to sit there and think about something, look at your shoes or god forbid strike up a conversation with the stranger who was waiting next to you?
This is what waiting looks like now …
And don’t get me wrong … I am just the same as the folks in this picture. The other day for example: I was waiting for my daughter to finish her dance class and noticed there was a father waiting also. I said a quick hello as I sat down, to which he briefly glanced up from his smart phone and replied and then I sat down, grabbed my phone and this is how we continued for the next 10 minutes.
It would have been the perfect opportunity for me to introduce myself and get to know this ‘Dance Dad’ and vice versa or it could have been a nice chance to just sit back, relax and catch my breath for a few minutes. But it is like it is just an automatic reaction: Waiting = Looking at phone.
So it seems as if I have lost the knack or desire to wait. However, I also fear I may have lost the ability to single-task, and by doing so am missing the opportunity to fully engage and enjoy the task I am trying to complete.
Take my mornings for example: I never sit down at the table and enjoy my breakfast or allow myself time to ponder the day ahead. Instead I scoff something down my gob while preparing kid’s lunches, putting away dishes and giving my children the hurry up.
This makes for a hectic, stressed-out start to the day and one that I feel I need to change.
Sound familiar? I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here.
The scary thing is that my children have evidently picked up on my problem … When my 6 year-old son’s teacher was telling him off for talking instead of doing his work, he politely informed her that he was “multi-tasking!”
Oh god – I have a multi-tasking mini-me!
So, what is a girl to do in this predicament? Well, I am going to try to do some things better and / more often and these are the things that spring to mind:
1) When spending time with my children make sure I give them my full attention
(Trying to read them a story in the ad breaks of my favourite TV show is not working out well for anyone involved!)
2) Try to go to bed a bit earlier – meaning I can get up a bit earlier – meaning I can actually sit at the table and enjoy my breakfast.
(I’m sure that sounds way easier than it’s actually going to be!)
3) Now, here’s the kicker! When I am waiting for something i.e. a dance class to finish, a train to arrive, the doctor to call my name – I will try to either do nothing or talk to someone.
(I’ll keep you posted on how that one goes!)
But in all seriousness: I think multi-tasking definitely has its place and can be a great skill to possess. However, I also think maybe from time to time we could all benefit from just slowing down a bit, fully engaging in the task at hand and avoid having a ‘multi-tasking melt-down!’
Feel free to join me on my ‘single-tasking and waiting’ challenge and be sure to let me know how you get on.