Is multitasking really that bad? As it turns out, it’s not the healthiest for you. Personally, I used to claim MOM stood for Mother of Multitasking. I wore it as a badge of honor. I could accomplish so many things in so little time. After all, with so many hats, there was no other way to get it “all” done.
Yet my FOCUS (which is one of my Clifton Strengths) has become blurred. If only it were as simple as walking and chewing bubble gum. According to mental health professionals, academics, associations, coaches and more, multitasking does more harm than good. Take Health’s “12 Surprising Reasons Multitasking Doesn’t Work” article for example. It includes symptoms of slowed progress, increased stress, loss of productivity with greater mistakes, overeating and perhaps one of the greatest pitfalls – missing out on life. Do you recognize any of these symptoms in your life today?
While I would love to say I have found the cure, it would not be truthful. However, I do believe there are tools to gradually set you back on the right path. The bonus is that many of these tools also apply to other areas of wellness including physical health and your nutrition. Here are seven tools that have helped and continue to help me cut back on multitasking while increasing focus:
Increase physical activity
As they say, “It’s cheaper than therapy”. This can be anything that you like to do. Walking, swimming, yoga, bicycling around your neighborhood – just move. Not only is it good for your physical health, it is good for the mind. I have found more ideas, head clearing and focus through movement than in times where I am still.
Decrease screen time
It’s no secret we are bombarded with should haves, ideals, ideas, mass messages, invitations, marketing, good news, bad news (I think my blood pressure is rising thinking about it). It is a distraction, an escape and will steal your time and individuality if you let it.
Express more gratitude
It’s amazing what a little perspective will do for you. Pause and think about 2-3 things you take for granted. What can you do without thought that others would pay for or could only wish for? We have so much to be grateful for.
Set SMART Goals
This takes practice and more focus. Trust me, it’s going to be darned near impossible to multitask while sitting down to set specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time- bound goals. I can say with 99% confidence, from personal experience, that goals set while multitasking will fail.
Hire a coach to keep you accountable
One of my favorite quotes states, “Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.” ~Bob Proctor. It’s not the how in this case, it’s the who. Notice I said HIRE a coach. I’ve tried the free groups, the good friend, self-study and so much more, and unless I’ve really invested in myself, the chances of keeping on task dwindle significantly. In fact, I’ve hired many coaches including life coaches, a branding coach, and business coaches and if you count my gym memberships – fitness coaches. Bottom line… you do often get what you pay for.
Surround yourself with the right people
This is a BIG ONE. There is no shortage of evidence that teamwork makes the dream work. Who is on your “Dream Team”? Do they have different strengths to compliment yours? My daughter asked me a question the other day… a sort of truth or dare if you will. She asked what one thing my friends would change about me was. After thinking, I responded: They would want me to make confident decision and to have more belief in myself. Now those are the kind of teammates you want, am I right?
Give yourself Grace
Change takes time, practice and patience. I should know…. Just while writing this blog post, I paused (maybe still some multitasking) to pick up a daughter from dance, get dressed for the day, sort laundry, post on social media, all the while having a million things run through my head and finally sat back down again to finish this. I am a work in progress.
So the acronym that I once was so proud of… I’m kicking it to the curbside. Now MOM simply stands for Mom on a Mission. No more missing out on life for this MOM.