Five Tips for Multitasking Responsibly

I am in a constant state of motion. It’s surprising that I hardly ever reach my daily goal of 7,500 steps. Between the numerous walks from my office to the water cooler, printer, or restroom, and my nightly orbit from from bedroom to basement, that goal should be a snap. Though my fitness tracker logs a deficit, my body aches at day’s end tell another story.

I sometimes think it’s impossible for me to be still. As soon as I sit down, I think of something and then get up to do it. Watching TV doubles as time to clip coupons or put away laundry. The back button on my remote is worn because of how often I rewind to catch something I missed.

Until a couple of weeks ago, I was proud of my multitasking superpower. But a visit to the hospital with Lil Ma forced me to rethink that position. I had overdosed on multitasking, and it had me flitting around like a mad woman. I needed to dial back and use my skill in moderation.

Here are a few things I’ve figured out so far:

1. Two or three, not four or five. If you can keep up with five things at once AND do them well, my hat’s off to you. Some days, I tried to tend to dinner, dishes, two kids, and a phone call. That was lunacy.

2. Group sensibly. Don’t mix things that require your full attention. Laundry and TV? Cool. A call with your mom and emails from work? Lunacy.

3. Know when it can wait. Going to bed without cleaning the kitchen has always been a big no-no for me, but I’ve left more dishes in the sink this week than I have in the past five years. I’m learning little by little to be ok with that.

4. Know when it can’t. Mini Me is going to her first concert tomorrow, and she insists on wearing her blue giraffe shirt. This would be fine, except it looked like it was run over by a truck. I initially told her to pick something else, but as her nine-year-old eyes widened in panic, I remembered when I was her age. It was a big deal to pick my own outfits for special occasions. So I spent a chunk of my evening getting her shirt show ready.

5. Cut slack. Lots of it. I’m a good mom, and I don’t give myself enough credit for that. I have a feeling you don’t either. So what if your kid goes to daycare with graham cracker crumbs in her ponytails from time to time? It means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.

There’s a lot more for me to learn, I’m sure. Stay tuned.

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