The Myth Of Multitasking

Ever feel as your mind is cluttered and if you add one more thing on your spinning plate, you’ll lose it? 

Do you constantly think about what you have to do next instead of what you are doing right now?

Do you unload the dishwasher while talking on the phone and planning out your week’s menu?

Does thinking about everything you need to do in your day fill you with dread?

The truth is, women are great multitaskers. It’s true. We can hold the baby, cook dinner and fold laundry with our eyes closed. With today’s fast paced life, we have bought the lie that we need to be productive all the time. So, we multitask more. The problem is, it’s killing us. Literally.

Women’s body’s respond differently to stress than men’s. In today’s world, women can have it all, but that means we have to manage it all. If we don’t, we can respond to stress in a variety of ways. It effects our emotional, physical and spiritual well being. We can have symptoms such as:

  • Skin issues- itchy rashes, breakouts and/or hives
  • Sleep problems- insomnia, racing thoughts at night
  • Emotional issues, irritability, anger, blue moods
  • Stomach ailments (stress can make you reach for junk foods)
  • Headaches

This is the short list. Stress attacks our immune system and leaves us wondering why we feel sick all the time.

Dr Debra Villar says in her book, Urban Women’s Syndrome, our modern rushed lifestyles are contributing to chronic lifestyle disorders such as auto-immune diseases, infertility, stress and hormonal imbalances.

Today’s societal pressures contribute to the multitasking myth. We women believe we must be productive all the time, but often let the culture determine what we should spend our time doing. We often feel guilty if we don’t:

  • Have a perfectly clean HGTV house ALL the time
  • Have our nails, make-up and hair done
  • Have our children dressed as if they are in a photo shoot
  • Have organic meals served every day
  • Have thin, toned bodies even shortly after giving birth to a child
  • Have our calendars full of good things such as church events and charity work

These are just a few of the things that cause stress in a women’s life so we multitask our butts off to get them all back in order. But, at what cost? Why doesn’t our to-do list include hanging out in the hammocks with our kiddos? Reading a good book? Going out for coffee with our besties and just talking for an hour about nothing.

It's #NewKicks Friday!

The book The 4 Disciplines of Execution states it well:

“Improving our ability to multitask actually hampers our ability to think deeply and creatively… the more you multitask the less deliberative our become: the less you are able to think.”

“Just because we women can do everything doesn’t mean we should. Trying to do everything all at the same time usually leaves us with stuff strewn all over the kitchen, a baby crying in one ear, a friend chattering over the phone in the other, and a pot boiling over. Doesn’t sound like fun to me.”- Kelly Balarie, Battle Ready

While we women can’t avoid multitasking altogether, we can begin to practice the discipline of focusing on one thing. It is a discipline and it takes some practice. You can start the practice today! It’s not too difficult and the benefits are health and life.

Try this today, while you are doing whatever you do, meditate on it. Think about it. Proverbs 4 speaks of meditating on the word because it is life to all who find it and health to all of your flesh. Why not apply this principle to your life? Think about what you are doing while you are doing it. Instead of thinking about what is for dinner while you are reading aloud to your child, think about what you are reading. Look at her face, feel the softness of her hair, read the story with every ounce of your being. While you are in your exercise class, instead of thinking about the drive home and the tasks awaiting you, think about your muscles. Think about what great things you are doing for your health. Focus on the moment.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, – Ecclesiastes 9: 10a

The verse doesn’t say, find lots of things to do and do them with all of your might. Just do the thing in front of you, one thing at a time. It’s unrealistic to think we can give up multitasking all together, but let’s make an effort to focus on one thing today!

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