Multitasking – good or not?

How many things can you do at once?

At one time, the ability of women to multitask was considered a positive trait. As opposed to the males of our species, we touted the ability to get more than one thing done at  a time as favorable. In fact, many things done:make supper, do dishes, sweep, help with homework, check e-mails, start a load of laundry . . .  and this was all in the half hour after getting home before supper. We had a smug feeling of superiority that we could carry on a conversation with the kids while doing two other things. It appeared that the men had to focus on how to change the batteries in the answering machine before they could hear the teenage requests. But now, I am not so sure. Now it seems I just have a short attention span. I have gotten so used to having more than one thing on the go that I seem to create them. A small example, was when we recently moved and were getting to the final stages of cleaning out the house. It seem impossible for me to stay in one room until it was totally cleaned out and packed up. I wanted to be working in at least two rooms at once. This drove my dear husband crazy. And I can see why. But no matter how hard I tried I needed to switch focus.

At a recent Holistic Management conference in Lloydminster, one of the keynote speakers was Dr. Elaine Dembe, a chiropractor from Toronto. She spoke about aging – health, wellness and stress resiliency. On her blog she also talks about making multitasking more effective. It is important to focus as multitasking increases one’s stress level and makes one less productive. “Turn off all the distractions.”   She also talks about taking a break after you have been working for 90 minutes to allow the opportunity for renewal.  In addition, determine one project that you want to complete that day and stay with it until it is done. Sometimes it may be necessary to break it down into steps. Somehow, I don’t think we will achieve this overnight but we can start working on it.

-Kelly

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