Do you multi-task?

simple vs multi-task More aptly, can you multi-task? Some people can’t. Some do it now and then. Some are able but unwilling. Where do you fall on the spectrum?

I’m of the able-but-unwilling school. I used to multi-task more than I do now, and age has something to do with that. But it’s a positive thing. I’m wiser now. I choose now to multi-task less. That said, it’s taken me a while to get to this point.

I’ve always maintained that women are better able to multi-task than men. I swear it’s in the genes – right along with the ability to mother a child. Not all women have children, but they’re born with the tools to do it. Same with multi-tasking, because being a mother requires that. Children don’t wait patiently while their mothers finish other tasks. What they need, they need now. Same with the other jobs a woman does. Those jobs make time demands, too, and the only way to get it all done is to do more than one thing at once. We can do that. We can do it well.

Much has been made of women with outside jobs who still do the bulk of the work at home. I like to think this is slowly starting to change. My sons all cook and help out with child care; I’m sure many men now do. But still, when a child is sick, women are the ones who most often stay home. Yes, our career paths may take a hit, but isn’t it a tribute to us that we do it anyway?

All too soon the kids grow up. My first empty-nest year, I would stand in the kitchen at the end of the day trying to think what I was supposed to do. The idea that I could actually relax and take a few minutes for me was foreign. Oh, I got used to it. I would read or knit and watch the news until it was time to make dinner, and then, while dinner was cooking, I folded laundry or talked on the phone or payed bills. So I was still the multi-tasker, albeit with fewer tasks to multi.

Then I found that it was pleasant to watch tv without knitting at the same time.

And that it was nice to be able to talk on the phone without having to fold laundry at the same time.

And that my taste buds didn’t want a dozen flavors, but craved “clean” food (like the grilled steak in the photo above).

Oh, I still multi-task. Just like when my kids were little, there are times when I have no choice. Increasingly, though, there are times when I do have a choice, and, in those times, I opt for purity of experience.

How about you?

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3 Comments

  1. Avatar Jen Fishler on February 12, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Are you kidding me? It took forever to get over the guilt and accept that it was OKAY for me to choose what I wanted for dinner, and when – let alone to realize I no longer had to multi-task every minute of the day. There are still times I feel…disoriented? What about the school and work schedules? Food allergies? I can stretch out on the sofa and watch a tv show or movie all the way through? Not that I can’t still multi-task – of course I can, there are times I must – but I really enjoyed watching that movie with my husband last night, munching on our dinner (bacon-wrapped dates with water chestnuts tucked in the centers, pineapple chunks, and kale chips). Our kids would have had a cow if I had put that on the table. A herd!

  2. Avatar Debbie on February 12, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I multitask, as a professional cook I have to multitask, there’s not a choice in that even. But despite being only 29, I prefer not to multitask, the reason for that all stems from an article I read about multitasking.
    It basically said this, multitasking doesn’t really exist, you basically divide the 100% attention you have over a number of things, which in turn causes you to not do every task with the same diligence you’d normally have if you were to do one thing at a time and I agree, I don’t do my best work when I’m doing multiple things.
    In that context I try to minimize my multitasking, because it’s impossible to stop it entirely, still my job sometimes requires me to do it, my friends sometimes and family as well.
    I think everybody multitasks, since a lot of the times you do it without noticing. You read the paper while making sandwiches, you’re watching tv while on the telephone talking or even playing a game and cooking is multitasking, watching your vegetables. Meat, is it seared right, need those juices for the gravy. Potatoes, mashed, whole, fried, tons of choices. And if you’ve made Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving dinner, you know having to hold up all those balls and make polite conversation, make sure everybody has their drinks and is happy, multitask central.
    Although the generation behind me makes multitasking to an art, watching tv while on the laptop/tablet, while texting their friends and cooking dinner as well. They don’t know how to stop multitasking.

  3. Avatar Shirley Helm on February 13, 2016 at 9:33 am

    I get tired of it also. When I worked, it was much worse. Dinner, dishes, homework, housework and laundry. Ugh! At my job, it was the same thing. My desk was always full of tasks to do, tasks to copy, etc. I worked with someone that could only have one thing on her desk at a time. I always wondered how she got anything done!

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