Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or you work out of the home (or in the home, as in my case), there is so much going on during the day. Cooking, cleaning, transporting, meeting, play dating, shopping, watching Homeland (okay, maybe that one’s just me).
But honestly, we lead full lives, no matter the occupation. And even when I’m with my children, I sometimes question how “with it” I really am. I feel like a lifeguard sometimes: eyes darting from scene to scene, but still feeling a bit disconnected and distracted. I’m watching the girls play with their new Bubble Guppies toys, instead of playing with them. I’m seeing how Conrad discovers how to turn the pages of a book, instead of reading with him. And lately, it’s bothering me that I’ve felt more like a spectator rather than in the game.
I blame it on my need to multitask…and my iPhone.
Take a moment and think about all of the things you are doing right now - obviously you are reading this blog, but chances are good that you are also doing several things at once. Perhaps you're also watching the kids, shopping, texting a friend, checking your email or prepping dinner.
I consider myself a “heavy multitasker” – whether it’s listening to a teleconference while drafting an email to a coworker, shopping for preschool group snack while moving meetings so that I can attend the next MOPS meeting, or watching the kids while cooking dinner and trying to have a conversation with an old friend. I just get dizzied thinking about it. And while I thought I did a fairly good job at the balancing act, a number of different studies are revealing that we aren’t effective at multitasking as we think we are. Just listen to The Myth of Multitasking from NPR for a real eye-opener. Basically, if we think we are great at multitasking, we are in fact terrible at it.
Earlier tonight after reading a particularly jarring email from a client (from my phone), I totally lost focus on what I was doing at the time, which was serving dinner. On days like these when it’s just me at the helm (DH is working nights), I tend to sit at the table with the girls while feeding Conrad and we talk about the day. But, I was so distracted by my own frustrated thoughts that I gave the baby a pouch, sat the girls at the table, and started writing a rather pithy response to the email. Then I stopped myself. I didn’t want to write an email in that moment. I didn’t want to think about work and the unpleasantness that the next day will bring. I wanted to think about my family, my children. So, I did. I stopped writing the email and decided it would have to wait until the morning. And I need to do that more frequently.
Focus on one thing at a time.
Be in the game instead of watching it (while folding laundry).
While I know that multitasking will always be some component of my life, I also know that I can choose to focus at times. I’ll try that this week…wait – did my phone just vibrate?
Okay, maybe tomorrow morning!
Heavenly Father, I pray for slow living - simplifying my life and minimizing distractions so that I can have more time and more energy to focus on what is meaningful and fulfilling – You and my family.
Britney Cole is a wife and mother to three dear children, all of whom are 4 years old and under. Working full-time from home allows her the flexibility to be available for refereeing arguments, kissing boo-boos, showing her girls how to multi-task during conference calls (Eating Cheerios in pajamas while pitching a new project to a client? Don’t mind if I do!). She used to craft, make pottery, read books, do yoga, and cook creatively. And one day, will again...maybe after everyone is potty trained.