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Multi-tasking is the bane of my existence and also my life bread

It’s all the rage these days to talk about how multi-tasking isn’t really a good skill to apply anymore. That you are better off focusing all your attention on one task and in doing so, you will actually get it done quicker. In other words, you’ll save more time and get more done if you just line all your tasks up in row and knock them down one by one.

That, my friends, is not how multi-tasking works. As any mother knows, multi-tasking is not about getting things done quickly or more effectively by doing more than one thing at once. In fact, we’d love — more than anything! — to be able to devote all of our focus on one thing at a time.

Multi-tasking is not a choice. It is something that one must do, if one expects to actually get anything done at all.

As Exhibit A: My work day is now done and this is how my evening is going to play out …

  • Supervise a short homework period with one child (nagging as needed)
  • Drive over with above noted child to my Gram’s residence and pick her up for dinner
  • Drive over to Swiss Chalet, because both Gram and child will eat there
  • Drive over to Chapter’s where I have a meeting scheduled with out daycare provider at 7pm
  • Deposit Gram and child into Chapter’s. Let them browse for an hour.
  • Discuss other child for one hour with daycare provider to share tips and sync-up
  • Re-group with Gram and child and drive Gram back to her residence
  • On the way home, stop at drugstore to pick up some face cream and toothpaste
  • Arrive home, usher child into bedtime routine (nagging as needed)
Now, why am I doing all this at once? Well, because I had scheduled a meeting with my daycare provider for this evening. But I am also long overdue in taking my Gram out for dinner and she is in the same neighbourhood. I also promised child to a new book, and this is in the same neighbourhood too. And I also promised my face that I would finally get a refill on skin cream since the last one has been sitting empty for too long.
And if I didn’t multi-task all of this into one evening, then I would still be feeling terrible for not taking Gram out in ages and not fulfilling my book promise to child and having dry, uncomfortable skin! There is simply not enough time to not multi-task.
Please tell me this is normal. In the meantime, I will try to get a half-dozen things done ineffectively and check back for your answer.
p.s. Despite all the practice I get at multi-tasking, I still fail at it. Frequently. Case in point: The day got so busy that I forgot to do the draw for the $50 Mark’s gift certificate. So you now have until 10 am tomorrow to enter!
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  1. It’s like the walk from room A to get something in room B and return immediately to room A to finish already-started task. WHY does it take 20 minutes when room A and room B are 15 steps apart? BECAUSE of the multi-tasking. That’s why. There’s the toy to pick up in order to prevent injury, there’s the stray sock one was looking for earlier, there is a perilous pile of books or papers that looks like it will about to fall over, there’s the hydro bill forgotten on the coffee table, there’s the library book that’s been missing fallen behind the shoe rack…

    Must I go on?

    By the time you return to room A you realize you don’t have item you set out to get from room B and you have to repeat the entire thing. Only this time, you are interrupted by child 1 or 2 or the phone rings…



  2. giulia_caflisch says:

    I would not even consider this multi-tasking that’s just normal busy life that you describe above. Multi-tasking for me is cooking, while checking school papers, being on the phone and looking at emails, trying not to burn the onions and clearing the table of folded laundry…

  3. Chris Barrett says:

    Whew.  Julie, I’m tired just reading about your plans…

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