Last week I forgot to breathe.
I was in the shower with an invisible list in my never-ending active brain; “buy girlfriend birthday present, change Edison’s sheets, need new kettle, remember to call back …”. It was at that very moment I realised I had never fully stopped to hear myself breathe. The only time I hear my breath is when I’ve finished a hard run or I creep into our babies bedrooms and watch their chests rise and fall. That is the simplest, most amazing sound and sight and I never tire of it.
This week I started purely focusing on one task at a time. The simple truth is, I cannot multi-task well. “What?!?!” you ask. If you’re a woman it’s an expectation that you do whether you’re good or not, it’s a prerequisite to success. We rarely question the thought because we just wouldn’t survive each day without competing at least 79 tasks before 12pm! We think we have to BUT I’m trying to eliminate this from my life
Becoming a parent gives you the right to always have your mobile phone close when you’re away from your children. The other day over lunch my parents (aka sitters) messaged me and I had to pause the conversation with my friend, apologising with “I’m sorry, I know women multi task but I cant” and see what the message was. There I had done it; admitted that I just can’t mulit task and moreover don’t want to. I find it hard to give a person only 80% of me and the other 20% is away with all of the thoughts running through my head. The real truth is sometimes you don’t have any other choice, and you have to work with what you have but, we can choose to give 100% to the now, the moment and especially to the person in front of us, be that a friend, colleague or barrista serving your coffee in the morning. I wrote back to my mother, explained what had to be done, paused, remembered where I was in conversation and found the momentum again.
In my attempt of not multi tasking this week I’ve seen so many changes. My mind is clear on the task at hand whether it’s cleaning, writing Christmas cards, building blocks with our toddler or being fully present in a conversation. My brain is not running circles inside of me and I’m achieving more. I feel clear, content and so much more in control. Instead of giving the bare minimum to make it work, I’m giving all of myself to each moment in the day.
A study by BBC news in August of 2004 showed “multitasking can result in time wasted due to human context switching and apparently causing more errors due to insufficient attention.” When I read this it resonated with me and I knew my multitasking was making me flustered and less efficient.
If you think that multi tasking is a necessity then look no further than young children. Their lives are not complicated and they zone in on the one task they are doing at that exact moment.
I’m happy to say I try NOT to multi task.