Have you ever noticed the mystery of multi-tasking?
On the one hand, we can be masters of doing more than one thing at a time. But on the other hand, sometimes we are so consumed with one thing that everything else gets ignored.
How does that work?
I think by nature we were born knowing how to multi-task. After all, our minds are processing so many things at once, it stands to reason that we could also do more than one thing at a time. And seriously, do you know a mom who doesn’t multi-task?
So how is it that we can talk on the phone and fold towels at the same time, while also minding dinner on the stove, but when we try to do other things – maybe even more important things – we find it hard to multi-task?
I think the answer is attention and focus.
Folding towels takes no focus or attention at all. And if dinner is simmering, there isn’t much needed there, either. Even a phone call, depending on who it is and what it’s about, may not take much focus.
But there are other things that we need to do that take more of our time and attention.
For instance, in the past month or so, I’ve had to spend more time taking care of my dad because his health has deteriorated. And I’ve also had to clean and decorate the house for the holidays, as well as make Thanksgiving and later, Christmas dinner . And I have writing to do, for this blog and elsewhere.
I’m sure you can relate. We all have lots of things we need to do. Some are mindless, like folding towels, and others take more of our attention.
Maybe we should think about looking at our to do lists a little differently, ordering them by importance, but also by the amount of our attention that they will need.
And then let’s take that further and think about when we are at our best during the day and try to do those things that require focus then.
Of course, not all things can be neatly scheduled into a perfect time slot.
Taking care of my dad, for instance, often needs to be done when he needs it. There is no schedule to much of it.
If you have situations like that, things that just pop up and demand your attention, then take a moment to stop and recognize them. Realize that this thing needs your full attention now, regardless of whatever else you are doing. I think doing just that little bit of recognizing can help us focus better and accept things as they are.