Today's topic on 'The Zen Code' is - Have we glamorized Multi Tasking?
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When you think of multi tasking, there is someone that automatically comes to mind as being able to handle it ALL, be in more than one place at a time and make it ALL HAPPEN. It's something most of us have striven for in our adult years and have also been applauded for if we somehow manage to unlock a code or find a system which automates us into auto pilot, robot mode to simply get shit done.
If you're like me, you would pride yourself in being able to manage 500 things at one time. When I worked as a receptionist , I was wicked. I could handle calls, take messages, update databases, keep filing systems in check ALL while providing first class customer service & was quickly bumped up to manager - but I was getting paid to do that. Paid to use more than one skill at one time to provide an outstanding result - that is what work is. CEO's, business owners and creators hire high level performers to take their businesses to the next level by being able to mechanically multi -task.
Now what happens after work hours, or if i'm talking this day and age where your job gives you a blackberry, or your work email is now on your phone and you're being constantly reminded that you must be accessible, and present in more than one place mentally at all times.
You're at a dinner party, and your work phone goes off - you want to be an A+ performer so you ensure that you answer it, and then come back to the table after the call. YES You were able to quickly take a work call, while cutting a conversation and coming back to it - none of which were of, quality.
In the 90's a phone was attached to a wall or a desk, so when you left it, you wouldnt be able to answer it or the voicemail until you were with it again. This gave you space and freedom to be present and focus on what was on hand. Whether that be a pile of paperwork or watching movie with the family, you were ALLOWED to focus on one thing at a time.
Now, imagine watching a movie with your family without looking at your phone once, answering a work email after hours OR simply just talking to the people you are present with vs ALSO talking to your friends on whatsapp/ messenger.
We praise the idea of multi-tasking because it is a super power, you are performing above the regular required frequency BUT it is not neccessarily required in everyday life.
Let's not MULTI Task and just focus on ONE TASK. Over the last year I have practiced delegating tasks, turning my phone off & answering emails within a certain time frame. If I am doing work on my computer, I only have the tab open that I am working on and when i'm done - I close it and move on to the next. This may seem a little prehistoric, but my mental focus is sharper, I am able to be both logical and creative when dealing with the task instead of just logistics and speed. When i'm spending time with my husband or family I do my best to not answer my phone, I let voicemail pick it up, i'm busy doing something important at the moment.
This isn't possible for some, there are high performers in the workforce breaking ceilings & innovating, this is their world and that is understandable. For the everyday joe like me who sometimes finds myself in a whirlwind of 5000 things to do and wondering where to start, i've decided to compartmentalise multi-tasking.
What has this done? It has allowed me to ENJOY my TIME instead of SPREAD IT THIN. It has also allowed me to stop responding with " yea, life's busy" or " i'm really busy" in regular conversation just for the heck of it. I find that responding with i'm too busy has been linked with some sort of perspective of success, the hustler who is getting their dreams. Everything in moderation, success is also being able to handle what is on your plate. Levels of anxiety, depression and mental illness is on a rise, think about the amount of pressure we put on ourselves to perform at a HIGH Level at ALL times.
Do yourself a favor, identify the times in the day when you are required to perform at a high level and do it, do it well and practice to be better BUT then identify the times in the day when you reset, recharge and reboot doing things you love with those you love. Be present, turn off your phone some times, spend some time alone. Plan your days so that they have a mix of high performance, personal time and social time.
Multi tasking as a skill seems to be the ultimate checkmark to ones abilities to acheive accomplishments but let's try to replace it with balance and you'll see how just a little bit of everything, gets you a whole lot more.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The 'Zen Code' is hosted by entrepreneur, Reshmi Chetram & is the second installment to her wellness offerings. Reshmi Chetram is the host of 'BollyFit Television' produced by Zoomer Media/ ONE Network airing across North America & she is the Creative Director of Tarana Dance & Production House in Toronto.