Women, or more precisely, moms have been known to be great at the science of multitasking. I for one has succumb to the call of the times to do hundreds of things all at the same time. In my pursuit to juggle the daunting task of raising kids, managing a household, loving a husband, not to mention homeschooling and working from home, I am surely tempted to perform all these responsibilities at the same time. I must admit that I have been a victim of this art, as some people describe it. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that multi-tasking is a crime. Like I said, I was and still am (in some instances) a multi-tasker but I am able to let go of its hold on my life.
Dictionary.com defines multitasking as the concurrent or interleaved execution of two or more jobs by a single CPU. Really? CPU? As in computers? I had to laugh for a while after seeing this definition. Multitasking was originally referred to as a task of computers. No wonder I find it stressful. First and foremost, I am a human being created by God with feelings. I am not made to last a millennium. And second of all, I can REALLY only do so much. Hey, even computers break down right?
When I began to juggle all my do-lists in one sitting, at first, I felt a sense of pride. Wow! I was able to do complete my list, I must be very good. This multitasking thing is great! I would unashamedly share the experience with other people who don't have the ability to do it... or so I thought. Unfortunately, reality bit me and it bit me hard. Yes, I could teach my son, work with my abstracts, take care of my little girl and entertain calls at the same time but it's just too stressful. So, here I am doing three to four things at the same time but what kind of ME is in it. I mean, I have to divide ME in all these tasks, so I only give let's say 1/4 of me in teaching, 1/4 in working, 1/4 in caring and 1/4 in calls. Now is that giving my best? Where's the quality control here? I am only giving a part of me, not the whole of me and the recipients are getting not only a portion of my time but the worst of me, the stressed-useless-angry-frustrated me.
Again, as I always do in my aha moments, God has always been the author of my realizations. I cannot think of solutions on my own, He gives me the wisdom and I owe it to Him always. So, as I tread on the dangerous (for me) journey, God has opened my eyes to the reality of the craziness I am in. I am putting my sanity on the line and He is not pleased with that. Daughter, how about prioritizing things? Well, I do prioritize but I put them all in number 1. I realized that there should be a hierarchy in all things. I don't have to pull my hair every waking moment thinking of how I could accomplish everything I need to do.
So I asked God. What do I do first? What would my day be like if I choose not to multi-task but instead order things and do my best in each task I am set to do? I tried slowing it down and it worked, really worked.
Here is how my schedule looks like while I was still multitasking:
Wake up stressed already. Be on the computer requesting for work while having breakfast. Wake up the kids and hurry them up, "Faster, I have to do a lot of things today". After kids' breakfast, school starts with the frantic mom always in a hurry thus creating tension between the teacher and the student. While teaching, I log on again and download work load for the day and constantly standing up to check on the progress of the download. Not to mention the text messages I have to reply to (do I really have to). Just thinking about it makes me sick really. Then the self-induced stress continues throughout the day leaving me exhausted to the bones.
Now, after realizing that I was spreading myself too thinly I decided to intentionally change the way I manage my day, my life. I start my day with a conscious effort to read His word first and ask Him what He wants me to focus on for the day. I leisurely take my coffee or tea for breakfast and listen to soothing music. I check on the subjects we need to do for the day and remind myself not to put burden on our school time too much. After giving 100% of my time to teaching the son and assisting my daughter in her writing, school ends for the day. Right before lunch time, that is the time I turn on the computer, check my email and request for work load for the day. While having lunch with the kids, I download the files to save time. After lunch and playing with the kids for a few minutes, I prepare my mind to write those abstracts. Depends on the how much load I have, I try to finish it before 6PM so I could spend some time with the kids again and prepare for the arrival of my husband from work. If the workload is light, I could squeeze some time in the gym for my boxing session. At the end of the day, though exhausted still, I feel less frustrated, more grateful and looking forward to the next day.
I am not saying that multitasking is bad. I still do multi-task but on a minimal level only like watching TV and texting or meditating while taking a bath :) But that was my personal experience and if other people can manage it well, good for them. I was just probably not wired to do it or just getting old :-)