Multi-tasking is a Sham

“What are you doing?” my daughter asked as I fumbled around my dashboard. “I’m looking for the seat heater,” I replied. On the car I had owned for two years, I might add. She rolled her eyes (as only daughters can do) and effortlessly punched the button that had eluded me.

I had earned that eye roll. I was so overwhelmed with driving, thinking, and talking, that I simply couldn’t successfully add another task. I would die of embarrassment in admitting this, if I thought I were the only one to have a seat heater moment. But I know I’m not. I watch people at work all the time doing their own version. They’re on computers, with two screens going, and they’re checking email, and they’re trying to have a conversation. And they aren’t doing any of them well.

Our minds are fabulous muscles, and can do all kinds of things, but they can’t do them all at one time. We’ve bought into the multi-tasking-is-good mindset. But I’m here to tell you, it’s a hoax.

Here’s the real secret to time management:

  • Focus on one thing at a time.
  • Take frequent breaks.
  • In between even small tasks, take a long, gentle, calming breath.
  • Shut off those email and text notifications.
  • Stay on-task and in the moment.

You’ll be more productive, attentive, and calm — and maybe even avoid an eye-roll or two!

 

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