Posts Tagged: life
I’m finally ready to admit it. I am not good at multi-tasking. For years, I told myself (and others) that I was good at it. I even took pride in my ability to do many things at the same time.
But, after giving birth, I came down with a terrible case of Mom-nesia. I couldn’t remember simple things, like how old I was or where I left my keys.
Stop multi-tasking and start single-tasking
For my first challenge, it seemed appropriate to spend 7 days with a single focus. What better way, than to single-task?
What would life be like if I was fully engaged in the task at hand instead of managing multiple things at once?
Could I still accomplish everything that needed to be done?
Would I enjoy life more?
Before the Challenge:
This is what my typical multi-tasking filled day looked like…
First, I put a load of laundry into the washing machine. While that’s going, load the dishwasher. While the dishwasher is going, prep some food while listening to a podcast, all while trying to play with KidFish and checking email at the same time.
I think to myself, “I’ve got everything started. All the chores will be done in no time. Everything is under control. I’m a super mom!”
But, this is what usually happens…
The laundry gets moved to the dryer 10+ hours later (usually by my husband at the end of the day when I tell him I’ve forgotten). The clean dishes never make it into the cabinet. Something boils over on the stove. I don’t remember a word of the podcast. KidFish gets mad because I only played with her for a few moments before leaving to read (but not respond to) incoming email.
At the end of the day, I’m super stressed and feel like a failure.
What I learned from 7 days of single-tasking….
1) Multi-tasking is my default mode
Focusing on one thing at a time was harder than I thought it would be because I get distracted easily. I’ve spent decades training myself to multi-task and it’s become my default mode. I don’t try to do it, it just happens. It took real effort and intentionality to focus on one thing at a time. It was hard, but not impossible.
2) Multi-tasking does NOT help me accomplish more.
For a long time I thought multi-tasking was the only way to get everything done. It’s not. I accomplished just as much (if not more) when I focused on one thing at a time. In fact, I enjoyed each task more and the quality my work was higher.
3) Single-tasking is less stressful.
I noticed how much other people multi-task. I saw that multi-taskers talked and moved faster because they were trying to do so much at one time. They stressed me out. Doing one thing at a time was way less stressful.
I don’t know if it’s possible to completely rid my life of multi-tasking, especially for a chronic multi-tasker like myself.
But, over the past 7 days, I experienced the benefits of being fully engaged in the moment. Focused time with KidFish was sweeter. Moments with PapaFish were richer. Cooking was more relaxing. Creating was more freeing. Even folding laundry was more enjoyable.
The last 7 days were fruitful and I want to make more of an effort to be present and engaged in the moment.
Less multi-tasking. More single-tasking.
I am a creature of habit.
I drive the same routes. I eat at the same restaurants. I order the same food. I wear the same outfits. And I’m fine with it.
In fact, I like it.
But recently, something in me yearns for growth.
Growth doesn’t come from maintaining the status quo. Growth comes from trying new things, experiencing new challenges and understanding new insights. So in the spirit of my instagram, (everyday life from a new perspective) I created the “7 Days of…Challenge.”
It’s simple. 7 days of doing something differently than I do it now. (i.e. 7 days of waking up early, 7 days of cooking dinner, 7 days of adventure.) After I finish the challenge, I’ll write about how it went and what I learned.
Why 7 days? Is it because it’s the number of completion? Is it because it’s lucky?
Mostly because it’s less than 30 days and more than 0. I’ve always been better at sprints than at marathons. I can do 7 days.
On March 4th (get it? march forth…I couldn’t resist the pun) I’ll be posting the results from my first “7 Days of…Challenge!”
If you’re up for it, join with me!
This moment in time is extremely special. I have the awesome privilege of getting to love the most amazing little girl. In the moment, washing dishes and doing laundry seem so important, but in the light of nurturing and forming a young soul, they seem so trivial.
If I desire to raise my daughter well and to teach her to be a woman of character, then it means that reading stories, stacking blocks and making memories come before doing chores.
I will never have this day with my daughter ever again. There will always be chores to be done. I will not always have a little one to raise.
Can I be honest? Sometimes I get discouraged for not having this whole parenting thing figured out. I’ve been a mom for more than two years, which equates to more than 18,000 hours! In any other area 10,000 hours qualifies me as an expert, but when it comes to parenting, I’m just a beginner.
I may still have a long way to go, but I’m so glad that I’m not where I used to be.
When I was in college, my brother told me that he would never let me babysit his future kids. EVER! (emphasis his) Something about being irresponsible…or something…I guess I wasn’t really paying attention and was too irresponsible to listen to what he was saying.
That was almost 15 years ago and since then, I’ve babysat all my nieces and nephews…all 5 of them! I’ve even volunteered with middle schoolers, high schoolers and now preschoolers…and I love it!
When I start to get discouraged about still having a long way to go on my journey as a parent, it helps to remember how far I’ve come, not just how far I have to go.