Multitasking has been my addiction for years.

I have a hard time sitting down, being still, and doing one thing at a time. If I’m paying bills, I’m also watching TV and probably texting a friend. If we are watching a family movie, I might also be on my iPad scrolling through Pinterest or Facebook. And while I write this blog post, I have about 7 tabs open on my browser – why? Because I jump back and forth between various websites through the course of a day.

As a mom, I believe most of us deal with multitasking, partly because we have to do it. There are times that our lives require us to be capable of making dinner, ensuring the children are safe, feeding the dog, and switching over the laundry – all within a matter of minutes.

But is all of this multitasking always necessary, or is it just a learned habit? We are trying to get so much done, so we tell ourselves that multitasking is the only answer. The problem is, research is showing that multitasking might not actually be helping us get that much more done.

Part of the reason we as moms end up multitasking so much is because we feel this pressure – whether internal or external – to “do it all” or “have it all”. There’s an expectation to have the kids looking presentable, the house in order, the bills paid, the career on track, and the marriage happy. So we take on more and more and attempt to do more and more without stopping to truly assess whether:
a. we are capable of these things OR
b. doing these things is in line with our priorities in life.

I heard an interesting quote from Pat Flynn recently. He said, “When you do everything at the same time, you get nothing done.” Stop for a minute, and just think about that. We are trying to do everything, yet we are wondering why we can’t get anything done. Perhaps it’s because we are never truly focused on just one thing at a time. This can apply to the day-to-day multitasking we do, as well as the bigger picture of goals, dreams, and life decisions.

For example, I tend to say “yes” to [seemingly] little things, thinking that I’ll be able to do this or that with no problem. Yet, my week ends up with a crazy long to-do list and I’m trying to multitask to get everything done. By multitasking, I am attempting to do it all. Instead, I feel overwhelmed and discouraged that I’m not able to accomplish all of it.

What if, instead of attempting to do it all and getting sucked into the multitasking vortex, we just focused on one thing at a time? What if we decided to truly assess our priorities and values in life, and made decisions based on that, rather than on what other people might think?

For me, this is going to be a work in progress. I am horrible at sitting down and just doing one thing. In fact, right now as I write, I would really love to have turned on the TV or have music playing in the background. But I figured if I was writing a post about not multitasking, it might be good to actually try it out!

Next Steps:
1. I am going to begin “unitasking” – just doing one task at a time, without attempting to do 2-3 other things at the same time.
2. I am going to identify the top 3 priorities in my life currently, and make sure that my schedule is in line with those priorities.
3. I am going to go through a values assessment with my husband so that we can be sure to make decisions that are in line with our core values.

How about you? Can you relate to any of this? What are your next steps?