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Just say NO to Multi-Tasking

Updated: Jan 11

I've always been proud of my ability to multi-task. To handle more in a day than the average person. As a single mom this skill has come in handy over the years, and there are times when this juggling act is necessary and valuable. But recently I have begun to question whether the benefits of hyper achievement out-weigh the damage caused when life moves at warp speed. My soul is crying out to slow things down and fully experience moments - one at a time.

Checking off the "to-do" boxes feels great doesn't it? The trouble is that the things that matter most so often don't make the written "list." So when that list gets too long, we may find ourselves accomplishing a lot, but achieving very little of actual value. Running fast, but never arriving at our desired destination. Succeeding at many tasks, but feeling emotionally and spiritually hollow, with distant or even broken relationships. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I submit that saying NO to the multi-tasking culture as often as possible may just be the healing balm our spirits need in this frantic world.

Don't get me wrong. I love list making and calendars. They keep me on track in my busy life. I just want to be more deliberate in how I use them now. As I am filling up the spaces, I need to remember to leave time to fill my heart and mind in the process too. I think we would all agree that exhaustion and stress are not the goal. That time with our friends and family, creativity, learning, fitness, rest and spiritual connection are critically important aspects of a happy and fulfilled life. But do our calendars and lists reflect those priorities? Are they even represented there at all? And if not - why not? Taking the time to ask and answer these questions can be powerful enough to change the course of your life, as you reexamine WHY you do what you do every day, and what changes you might like to make.

As I have been pondering recently the theme that keeps emerging for me is to do what I am doing while I am doing it. To be present, one task at a time. To be fully with who I am with, mentally as well as physically. To magnify moments as they are happening by giving actions and people my full attention, before moving on to the next activity or interaction. Simply put - to be where I am. Living while I am alive.

This is not as easy as it sounds though. Emails and notifications come in at a near constant rate. Other people who choose to live in urgency will want to transfer that onto you. Running around as if their hair is on fire even when nothing is actually burning, and expecting everyone else to jump to answer the imaginary alarm. Society seems to almost celebrate burn-out, and often scoffs at those who don't want to play the rat-race game. Competition is the way of the world it seems, and media bombardes us will endless opportunities and rabbit holes to fall down, that so often amount to nothing more than mindless distraction.

It takes immense commitment to push against the prevailing winds and put down the phone sometimes. Close the computer at a reasonable time. Change the pace. Breathe. But here is a challenge for you. Next time you are making dinner, try to actually focus on cooking dinner. To enjoy the process of creating a meal for your family, rather than balancing the phone on your shoulder making an appointment and folding laundry in between stirs of the pot. Smell the spices, feel the warmth and maybe invite someone you care about to cook with you. It might surprise you what kinds of conversations emerge when side by side at the kitchen stove. Stop long enough to revel in simple yet powerful moments.

One day at a time. One step at a time. One breath at a time. One task at a time. This is your life. Be there.

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