My Multi-Tasking Mess

Once upon a time I was a huge multi-tasker, especially at my corporate job. I reminded myself of an octopus, one hand reaching for this. Another typing that. Then I was talking to one person on the phone, another in my office, making a note about another meeting, and answering an email.

I was forever putting out fires, correcting problems, and fixing complaints.

Then I read this interesting study that said when you’re multi-tasking, you’re not doing anything well. Instead, you’re doing a lot of things half-assed. Not their words, of course.

I initially disagreed with the study, but then I thought about my most important job – writing. I write without distractions. I don’t listen to music. I don’t have anything on in the background. My entire focus is on the screen in front of me. I minimize any computer distractions, too. I don’t have any notifications turned on. I go radio silent on everything – except for the software I use for my manuscripts.

So, I changed my attitude about work. I designated a certain hour to answer emails. Another hour for open door sessions. I made it known that 9 -11 was production time for me, so you couldn’t knock on my door (my boss was the only exception, of course).

I was shocked by how much I got done. Plus, I wasn’t putting out many fires at all because I had time to see problems developing rather than after they happened. I was a believer. To this day it’s how I handle my life.

Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed, I back off, retreat, and look at what I’m doing. Nine times out of ten I’m trying to multi-task again and making a mess of everything. I designate certain hours for certain tasks – which, I admit, is counter-intuitive to me. I guess I think I’m Super Woman and I can do everything all at once, all the time. When I forget that I’m not is when I make a mess of things.

How about you? How do you feel about multi-tasking? Do you handle it better than I do?

7 thoughts on “My Multi-Tasking Mess”

  1. I was once a multi-tasker. Now, not. I understand the premise of not doing an excellent job if you are doing more than one thing at a time. But, when my children were young, I could not even go to the bathroom without having a conversation with someone on the other side of the door. So, multi-tasking was a given.

    • That brings back moments when my boys were little.

      Maybe I should have stipulated that it’s different as a mom. I should have narrowed it to a work environment.

  2. Yes I do multi-task and I agree with Jeanne most women do. When my kids were little I was an expert at multi-tasking. I have noticed that men are different. When my husband cooks anything he stands in front of the pot and watches it When I cook I’m doing other things at the same time.

    • I bet your husband is a better cook than I am. I HATE standing there stirring stuff. That’s why I love the Instant Pot. I can set it and walk away. 🙂

  3. You are probably right that you do a better job when you don’t multi-task but I doubt if there is a woman alive who hasn’t had to at one time or another at least those raising kids lol. They say a woman’s brain is more wired towards that – who knows.


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