I used to multi-task with a flourish, proudly boasting about how much I could do at one time. Trust me, I had mad skills that would have enthralled circus-goers or at the very least gotten a round of polite applause. I had perfected the art of feeding my dogs while making my children’s lunches during which time I would make notes about my latest blog ideas and simultaneously answer emails. And yet, this is why I dumped mutli-tasking.
I had reached the tipping point, that boiling over crazy zone when I forgot to do things that should never be forgotten. Shhh, don’t spread this around, but one day I actually forgot to pick up my youngest from school. I was so embarrassed and ashamed that I pretended to be my twin sister when I received a disapproving stare from the school office attendant. Note: I don’t have a twin sister.
So I started to wonder if I wouldn’t be better off with more focus. I realized that I should put the lessons I learn in my yoga practice into practice with regards to the rest of my life. In short, I was going to strive to “be present.” That’s yoga-speak for not multi-tasking.
And guess what? I haven’t found that I accomplish less in the day. The kids’ lunches still get made. The dogs get fed, although they wait until after sack lunches are set aside. My emails are answered and I have more time for reading my clients’ work since I only check those emails once an hour rather than jump to them every time my computer dings.
With more focus and less multi-tasking I’m also calmer and better suited to tackle the more challenging aspects of my job. (Ever try to read a legal contract while doing squats? I wouldn’t suggest it.)
If you’re a multi-tasker, why not jot down your must-do jobs and then systematically tackle each one — separately. I bet you’ll end your week with a clean slate and a fresh outlook.