Jenny and I led a faculty retreat based on the famous FISH philosophy. We broke it down to four key principals; attitude, play, making someone else’s day and presence. There were lots of games, fun, teambuilding and of course prayer and reflection. It was a great retreat. During one of the discussions about how to be present in our own lives a participant said we have to stop multitasking so much. I told her I would blog that idea. So here goes…As people living in our American culture we are taught to multi task in all that we do, especially the women. We are suppose to get married, have babies, have a full time career, keep our house clean, make money, feed the babies, be the head of the PTO, volunteer our time and be superheroes. It is too much!
My husband’s cousin is living in Panama right now and she just had her first baby. Apparently the culture there is so much different from our culture. They believe that the woman should have lots of help and they make it affordable. They already have a house keeper and they will most likely have a nanny and possibly a gardener. The unemployment rate is next to nothing there because everyone works. It is inexpensive labor. My husband has another cousin from Argentina and her friends from home think American women are crazy to try to do it all on their own. When I heard these comments I thought to myself well, this is what I was taught. In America paying for a housekeeper, nanny and gardener is expensive so we do not all have that as an option. So we multi task our lives.
The woman from the retreat was correct though when we multi task we are spread so thin that we are not very present with anything we are doing. We need to do one thing at a time especially when it comes to our children. Half the time I have my four children talking to me all at the same time and I don’t know what I have said to them. I have tried to teach them one person talks at a time. They are still learning.
So how do we stop multi tasking? I don’t know if as Americans we can totally do it. But I think we can attempt to in different situations. When we realize we are doing 2 or 3 things at one time we should try to select the most important and just allow the other 2 things to wait. It is a shift of mindset and action. The old saying “Haste makes Waste” is true and many times when we are multi tasking none of it is completed thoroughly. So next time you find yourself multi tasking try take a few minutes to just concentrate on one task and discover how much better you can accomplish it. Not only will the work be completed better you will be present to realize you have completed it.