Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Multi-tasking is...

...tasking." I know that phrase seems likes a play on words so let's dig into it some more. Like many other women I know, I "pride" myself in being able to multi-task. In recent times, I've heard quite a bit about multi-tasking. At a conference, the presenter said she has taken the word "mulit-task" out of her vocabulary and life - she just doesn't do it any more. When I heard that I immediately thought: "You don't multi-task?" I couldn't help but wonder how much she really gets done in a day - I was almost empathizing with (actually pitying) her.

Then on a webinar about managing virtual meetings, the presenter asked us to guess the percentage of people who multi-task during virtual meetings. Considering that I was multi-tasking while listening, I guessed 50%. I was almost comforted by the answer - 70% - knowing that I even multi-task during face-to-face meetings so doing that during virtual meetings seemed "easy". Well guess what? At the end of that day, I realized that I made mistakes on something I was working on...due partly to the fact that I was multi-tasking when doing it and listening to the webinar.

The amount of time I needed to fix the mistakes made me start thinking about the real benefits of multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is "running number of programs simultaneously: the simultaneous management of two or more tasks by a computer or a person."*

The first thing that struck me was that multi-tasking is first related to computers and then humans. Hmmm! For me, multi-tasking is about doing "more with less" - more things within the same or in even less time. However, I've come to find out that if you do not carefully consider the compatibility between the tasks, you may find out that you've done: "more with more stress" or worse - "less with more stress."

There are some things that we can comfortably multi-task with e.g. if you have your dishwasher and washing machine going at the same time you are cooking. Personally, I've found that working and cooking do not go well together (so not sure how the lady in our picture is coping). While I have not reached the point of "deleting" the word "multi-tasking" from my vocabulary and life, I'm at a point where I have decided to reduce how much I task myself.  I'm giving myself permission to do (& properly finish) one thing at a time...

Like I said at the beginning: "Multi-tasking is tasking." If you want to do more with less stress, like I'm planning do, do the same thing I'm planning to do which is: take my advice and multi-task less. I can almost bet that you'll find out you'll be less exhausted (spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically) and more fulfilled at the end of day.

One more tip: Praising and thanking God is compatible with many tasks...

Sources:
*http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/dictionary/DictionaryResults.aspx?lextype=3&search=multitasking

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