I use to pride myself as a great multi-tasker and I think a lot of us do. I've even stated it as a strength on my resume, "I can multi-task like nobodies business"! I've taken that off my resume now and I definitely do not pride myself as a multi-tasker anymore. I've realized that I'm just too busy to multi-task, if that makes any sense at all? When my son came along, it totally rocked my world and gave the terms "multi-tasking and "life balance" a whole new meaning. I'm done...through with it all...screw "false" life balance because an equal life balance DOES NOT exist. I'm done with multi-tasking because I just need to S L O W everything D O W N and I'd like to be more productive.
A day at the office for me consists of 3 computer screens with applications open on each one. I would compose an email while having a phone conversation. Oh, I got a text message...quickly glance at that and go back to the phone conversation - Oh wait, was I typing out an email? And why did I open that excel sheet that is on one of my 3 screens....hhhhmmmm? That project I was working on for that last 3 hours that should have only taken an hour...Does this all sound too familiar?
At home, I have partial laundry going and then I run down to the kitchen and load the half full dishwasher. I perhaps walk away from cleaning altogether and check my emails and then jump over to my blog and start a post (don't even get me started on how many half-finished posts I have in my queue). Oh wait, I have to prep dinner. No actually, let me get to my bills and where can I fit in a work-out? Not enough hours in the day you say? Well, there isn't...there is always something that needs to be done, to be cleaned, to be addressed and this is why attempting "the balance" is a falsehood.
I multi-tasked in order to achieve some normalcy and some "balance" but found myself usually not getting much done at all which created more stress and anxiety. I've discussed this idea of balance with my girlfriend Kim, and we both agree that a better way of living is trying to achieve "HARMONY" in our lives, not balance. I've found that multi-tasking has become problematic for me and after doing some more reading, it seems like I'm not the only one that thinks this way. Apparently, there are studies that show multitasking can actually kill your performance and may even cause damage to our brain?! What?! Listen, I've already lost a tonne of brain cells just from becoming a mom, I don't need to lose any more brain cells from the act of multi-tasking!
Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers also found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time. Here’s the problem: Only two percent of us multitask effectively. That means the remaining 98 percent of us are running around like headless chickens in the name of “productivity."
L I F E will never be evenly balanced. You'll have stages when it needs to be all about work, times when family will be the only thing that matters, moments when your focus will be on your partner and not your friends and vice versa. My CEO sent over a great article he wrote the other day, talking how he manages his time. It always comes back to the 80/20 rule, which is a rule I use for every aspect of my life. Look at your work, the stuff that needs to be done at home, who you want to spend your time with and how you'd like to spend it - What are the things you need to do and like to do? Attack the 20% actionable items that will make 80% of the impact.
So, as I sit here finishing off this half written post (I started 2 months ago and I'm itching to open an email that just came through), I've committed on finishing this today, writing straight through so I can notch this off my "to do" and move on to the next thing that will get 100% of my attention.
20% effort - 80% impact.
PS: Another TIP for you all - TURN OFF ALL YOUR NOTIFICATIONS! Nothing is more distracting than a pop up notication that derails your train of thought.