Multitasking is REALLY overrated. There is a great article in one of my legal monthly periodicals titled, “Work, Interrupted: Distractions are Costing You and Your Law Firm.” While the focus of the article is on lawyers and distraction, the message is for all of us. We think we accomplish a lot when we are distracted through multitasking, but we don’t. In fact, we waste time, and time for most working people is money.
Texting, Email, Distraction.
Just this morning, I wasted two hours responding to texts and emails. Once I got started, like an addict, I couldn’t stop—until I just turned off the phone. That’s what it took for me to refocus myself, TURN OFF THE PHONE.
The idea of multitasking—doing more than one thing at a time—has become commonplace. In fact, we celebrate the multitasker as a hero, to whom we award a badge of honor. Women are particularly vulnerable to this way of thinking.
Some women proudly brag about being able to do everything—all at once. The superwoman mentality. There may be some payoff to trying to do everything at once. But in reality, the benefits are outweighed by the consequences. Many women discover contrary to popular belief that they can’t hold a power-driven job, raise great kids, share in a loving partner relationship, and have enduring healthy girlfriends—all at the same time. Something has to give. More often than not, it’s health and family. High stress levels, lack of sleep, poor eating habits that lead to health issues, or the need to seek a chemical solution to get through a day, are all consequences of multitasking.
So how do we start making different choices?
- Make different choices.
- Identify what’s really important to you. If you SAY it’s your health, then act like it. Make your health a priority.
- If you say it’s family, then act like it. If you are working 50 hours in a 24-hour day, and saying it’s for the family, perhaps it’s time to assess your choices.
- If your job is the priority—fine, but don’t try and convince the world that it’s your health, your family, or your friends. Just own that it’s your job.
If you are not living in alignment with what you say is important, you will suffer. And truthfully you may suffer either way, because guilt likes to show up. But if you are really doing what you know is your priority, then you will need to just accept that guilt is a part of the journey. One of my favorite prayers is the Serenity Prayer: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
If you need or want help refocusing, feel free to contact me. I’m Francine Ward