I’ve interviewed for a few jobs lately. Is it a sign of our times that every interviewer asks if I am comfortable with multitasking?
I bristle inside. It might show.
I give the “right” answer. “Yes, I can multitask.” It’s not a lie. I can. Many of us can, or feel that we have to in order to “get EVERYthing done that we need to get done!” And I hate the urgency and stress in that thought and statement. I don’t need MORE stress in my life, or more reasons to add it.
So I bristle. Because I dislike lying. Or even a little fib. Maybe the greater message here is that those jobs are not a good fit for ME.
Really, I don’t believe in multitasking.
I know. How un-American. And how strange for me, the product of a long line of borderline workaholics. I do love my work. I love to feel productive and worthwhile. I probably take too much of my perceived worth from my work life.
But multitasking wears me out. No kidding.
Is there another paradigm possible? I think so.
How about…one thing at a time?
This takes great discipline and mindfulness. It took me great discipline and mindfulness to get this post written. Because my mind wanted to fly in a bunch of other directions. (I must do this. I must do this! Chester is howling for food. Feed him NOW! Clean the house. It’s empty – do it now. Marketing is waiting! Create income. Now Now!)
What patience and discipline it takes for me to take one thing at a time. And to prioritize. Maybe some of those things AREN’T so damn critical. The house cleaning can wait. (This is hard for me. I LIKE to clean.) Chester can wait. He will not starve, not by a long shot.
I’ve never done well with to-do lists. They stress me out, and (probably as some kind of survival mechanism) I stop “seeing” them. I like the strategy I read in a book once (Tim Ferriss?) – list three critical things for the day, period.
It takes such discipline!
And so this is one of my mindfulness practices currently. Practices (like yoga, meditation, workouts, eating clean) and their regularity keep me grounded and feeling like I’m moving in the best way possible on my path. I’m adding the practice of mindful doing, one thing at a time. For me, better to get one great thing done well, than a bunch of things done maybe not so well. And I’m cutting out the crap that just doesn’t make the list.
What works for you as far as focusing clearly on the priorities in your life?
Catherine Holm: mindfulness life coach, author, and yoga instructor. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about coaching, yoga lessons, or my writing.