The Multitasking Myth; 6 Ideas to help with the Freelance Frazzle
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GUILTY AS CHARGED
I remember sitting in the school car park recording a video for Facebook. My laptop was open on the passenger side, groceries in the boot, swimming gear thrown on the backseat. I had missed two phone calls, had a 5pm deadline and remembered my husband was working late.And there I was, portraying myself as a centred, focused freelancer while my head was dizzy with all the jobs that needed to be done. Multitasking – What The @$*! Could it be that successful multitasking is a myth? Is it that no one is ACTUALLY, seamlessly multitasking, but rather juggling those greasy balls in the air - something we all practice a lot, but rarely get good at?
THE FREELANCE FRAZZLE
As a business owner and mother of two, I wholeheartedly admit to the freelance frazzle. Don’t ever come into my laundry room or peep in at my bedroom floor. Never check the mantelpiece for dust or assume I have weekly meals home-cooked and stored in the freezer. Quite the opposite - I struggle with it all, but who doesn’t? Multitasking is nothing new but “if we used to ride a cognitive horse-and- buggy, now we’re in a race car”, according to pbs.org. Basically, with all our screens and devices combined with everyday tasks, if we “do two or more things simultaneously, we’ll do none at full capacity.”
LETS STOP AND FOCUS
Over the summer, as I wrote about before, I had three deliciously disconnected days - no phone, no social media, no news. On reflection, I may have had a mini epiphany. What I discovered while staying away from my smartphone was how quickly I can lose focus. For instance;
- I can easily skit from job to job and lose my core focus
- I suffer from information overload
- I check my phone in bed, morning and night
- I don’t eat properly
- My social life gets left behind
Why are these things important? Let me break it down. When I get busy, I admit to checking notifications when I’m supposed to be writing a newsletter. I can’t remember the facts when relaying a story because my brain is taking in too much online. I bring my phone to bed and check it during breakfast and yep, then it takes double the time to get the school lunches made.
When I’m trying to do too many things for others I forget about myself and my health suffers. Contrary to popular belief, multitasking doesn’t save us time - it actually slows us down. It’s even been said that tasks completed by people who do multiple things at once are nowhere near as good as non-multitaskers. Is this resonating yet?
So what’s our solution? “Complete tasks in batches,” says health.com. “Each task requires a specific mindset and once you get in a groove you should stay there and finish.” Following my epiphany, and thanks to the glorious sunshine and salty air, I made The Plan for my year ahead. It’s a work in progress but I’m already feeling the difference.
1. Make The Plan! (don’t just think about it and make it pretty in your head). Stick to it.
3. Read a book. Retrain your eyes to read left to right slowly, not rapidly up and down. I couldn’t believe how much I noticed the difference…and how I became more relaxed.
4. Avoid the distraction and physically put the phone somewhere else when you really don’t need to be on it. If you must have your phone in your bedroom, at least turn it to airplane mode – less brain frazzle.
5. Future proof yourself. After the summer rest, I consciously chose to make better food choices and have upped my exercise. I’ve also given up wine and coffee this month. My head is so much clearer.
6. While I do love to cocoon myself in my home, it’s vital to connect with your friends, especially your besties. Once a month, I’m trying to gather a few and make sure we all get to laugh out loud.
This month, the practice of balance between work and home life is top of my list. If I don’t reset myself now the rest of the year may just be another busy blur. And I’m kind of done with that.
Multi-tasking is out. Completing tasks is in – but on my terms.
Over on Instagram, I’ve been using this theme, along with the #28daysofcreativecare project, to generate content that reminds me of my purpose, as well as hopefully helping others along the way. Go check Amy Kuretsky out - if you haven’t already.
Do you have any tricks for tackling the multi-tasking myth? Let me know, I'm always keen to keep learning. Leave a note in the comments below, as who knows, you might just trigger some truth for someone who chose to stop and check out this post today…