Thursday, January 9, 2014

Focus vs Multi-tasking

I've always prided myself on being pretty decent at multi-tasking. Akin to juggling, I could have five things going at the same time and handle it just fine. I wasn't one who needed uninterupted time to complete a task. I could stop one thing, do something over here, then keep right on going with the original task without a hiccup.

Sure, I had my moments when I failed. When everything seemed to fall down around my feet and I was left feeling like an utter failure.

But it wasn't very often. And I got a lot of stuff done.

That is, until my 4th daughter was born.

Oh, I still multi-tasked. But as each day went on, more balls were collapsing around me. I'd met my max juggling capacity and important things were going crash-and-burn all over the place.

I tried to make myself do only one thing at a time for a while--but let's face it. I'm a mom of 4 kids, one of them with special medical needs, and for the first year or so, I was working almost full-time on top of it all. Doing one thing at a time was NOT an option.

I also have this crazy woman brain too. At any point and time, I might have 100 or more things shooting through my brain, reminders of things not to forget, contemplating a problem, trying to listen to a kid talk to me, plotting a book, etc. I have been known to stop in the middle of the room, cover my ears and just yell for a moment until all the craziness in my brain comes to a halt.

Ask my hubby and kids. I've done this. I'm not proud of it, but there ya go.

As I mentioned in my last post, God has really been prodding me to work on focusing better.

Focusing my blog is actually pretty a easy. It's something I've wanted to do for a while and actually looked forward to writing this post today!

But then God cleared his throat and pointed to all my manic multi-tasking.

At first, I crossed my arms and shook my head emphatically. I CAN NOT DO ONE THING AT A TIME, God. Tried it, failed, not going back again. There are not enough minutes in my day to accomplish everything. Plain and simple.

But then God rolled his eyes at me and reminded that He wasn't saying to forget all my responsibilities except one. The word Focus doesn't mean that you look at only one thing and everything else is blacked out.

No, it means you see one thing the MOST clearly, and everything else, while still there, is a bit blurry.

As I contemplated what that meant for me and my crazy life, I realized that I've viewed my many hats as an all or nothing thing. I either succeed at it all or I'm a failure. I win or I lose.

Life doesn't work that way, though. You don't fail, or win, at life. In fact, we all fail at something everyday. It's just part of the process.

So instead of a list on a page, I'm trying to view my "life" duties in a more artful fashion---not easy for this numbers girl!

I'm picturing it as this kaleidoscope of the many hats I wear, all in view but some things more focused than others at different times.

I'm not letting every ball drop instead of one. (Not on purpose anyway....) I'm still trying to juggle them all, because they are all important and needed.


My house needs cleaned. 
(although I dream of selling enough books so I can hire that out, ha!)
My kids need fed something other than chicken nuggets and hot dogs all the time.
My part-time day-job needs my attention.
My books need written and published.
A shower is still advisable every now and then.
My time with God needs to happen daily.
Bills need paid.
My waistline does need to decrease .
(especially after those nasty Christmas pounds I put on!)
Annabelle needs meds/food/diaper changes/potty trained. 
(Please God, let it be soon on that last one!)
Doctors appointments need attended.
Blogs need written.
Friendships need cultivated.
Bible study needs attended. 
Kids have their activities they need managed/signed up for/taxied to.

This is just a tiny snippet of my list.

But as I work on accomplishing them, I'm going to try and FOCUS on one of them at a time.

Yesterday, for example, I focused on Annabelle's bedroom. It'd been a MESS since before Christmas. Not only does SHE mess it up, but with all her medical supplies and things, it just gets messy FAST, and it was to the point of unacceptable. It needed organized and cleaned so we'd have a fighting chance of keeping it that way.

I'd wanted to do this for weeks now, but there were SO many other things going on, I knew that I'd only get part of it done. So I tried to pick up a little when I could... until today. Today, Annabelle and I spent about two hours cleaning/organizing/vacuuming her room. I got rid of the last of her "baby" stuff that didn't need to be in there anymore. Weeded out medical supplies that were no longer needed or that could be stored in the garage for a 'just in case' later time. Even scrubbed her walls/door to rid them of the beautiful red scribbles she'd done with crayon about 6 months ago.... (Very thankful for Magic Erasers!)

I feel better. I think she feels better about it too!

And you know what? My kids still ate dinner. I still got in some great play time with Annabelle. I wrote this blog. Kids brushed their teeth. Baths happened. And I even had a nice chat with an IRS agent for work while I cleaned:-)

Multitasking... with focus!

And tomorrow I'll focus on one of the other things on my list.

Moral of the Story: Focusing isn't the opposite of multitasking... it IMPROVES the QUALITY of your multi-tasking!

Discussion: Are you a crazy multitasker like me, or are you, "One at a time, thank you" kinda person? Am I the only one who things of about three-hundred-billion things all at the same time??
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1 comment:

MisMisWilson said...

I try to multitask sometimes (a lot of the time) way too much! I normally do not walk in one room and clean it all right then. I am realizing I am getting older and do not remember as much as I need to. I love a list and to be able to mark things off. Your work "Focus" is a great word for the new year!