The Blur of Multitasking

I struggle to get everything accomplished that needs to be done each day; I am sure that this is something to which many can relate.  In retrospect, this week has seemed extra busy.  Yes, Spring Break is just around the corner, and things always seem to get a little more hectic as you lead up to a few weeks off.  It has not helped the feeling of busyness as we have added standardized testing to the mix this week. Regardless, I feel like this week has been a blur.  It has felt like those times when you have driven your car home without really noticing anything about the trip, you know you are home and you were at work, but those minutes in between have seemed to have disappeared. It’s a bit unnerving when you get to home and realize you do not remember anything about the drive. That has been this week. I know I have been busy each day, but I am not always sure what occupied all my time.

Why do we feel compelled to multitask? This week has been so busy, I feel like I have been trying to do ten things at a time, and have not accomplished as much as I should. I feel like the more I try to juggle, the less efficient I am at doing any of it. I know I need to slow down and decrease distractions so I can be more efficient in my work, but there always seems to be something interrupting my work as soon as I begin.  I have even struggled to write this post. I have not felt like I could get my thoughts in order. I feel I was so busy, with so many things, that I never really focused on any one thing.

Here are some things I am going to try to do next week to decrease multitasking and hopefully improve my focus.

  1. Eat lunch while doing nothing else.  Eating during a conversation, while checking email, while walking down the hallway, or not eating at all, I rarely eat lunch without something else going on. I am going to try to take a few minutes in the upcoming week to just eat.  Nothing else, just eating.
  2. Leave email to four times a day. I am on my email constantly.  Most days, it is the first thing I do when I wake up. Hit the alarm, grab my phone, check my email, then say good morning to my wife… in that order. Email does not stop for the rest of the day. Any moment I get, I sit down at my computer or grab my phone to clear out the 100+ emails I get in a day.  Next week, I am going to schedule some email blocks of time. Check it in the morning when I get to school (I may still give it a glance in the morning at home to make sure there is nothing urgent, but not until after I say good morning to my wife), one time in the middle of the day, at the end of the school day, and once in the evening.  My hope is to check email, answer questions, make my to do list, but not bounce back and forth between the work I am currently doing and new items popping into my inbox.
  3. Turn my phone on silent. This one scares me a little bit…ok a lot. But, I am constantly interrupted by notifications buzzing through my phone. I cannot tell you how many times, I get distracted from what I am doing by an insignificant notification popping up on my phone.
  4. Leave school work at school. (Or, if I have to take something home, at least wait until my kids go to bed to get it back out.) Usually, the work I take home could have been completed at work, if I was more efficient with my time. A ten hour work day is always my goal, get here by 7 leave by 5. That usually happens, but I am also constantly tucking small items in my bag that I did not get done during the day. Many times, I probably make things more of a priority than they really are. Things can wait until the next day if needed; it does not all need to get done right now.

My hope is by doing these things, I work more efficiently on the tasks at hand creating a more effective use of time to do what is really important.

If you feel like I did this week, then join me in looking for a few ways to focus more intently and cut out the multitasking as much as possible.

Keep learning; keep growing; keep sharing!

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