Multitasking is a lie.
I know we would really like to believe it’s true because I bet most of us are doing a whole lot of that lately. But, the reality is that multitasking is really our mind switching from one task to the next ever so quickly that you believe it is occurring simultaneously, but it’s not. In the midst of going back and forth, your mind can miss little details or expend more energy than it ends feeling more tired and more prone to making mistakes. I’ve talked about creating systems within the household and within your own schedule to keep from burning out and feeling overwhelmed. Setting clear boundaries that are flexible is key to keeping up with the day to day grind, especially if your children are home in virtual school.
Many parents feel bad about setting boundaries around their work schedules and reminding their children that they are working when they ask to play or solve a problem. Last year, how many parents wished to be at home more with their children, and now that they are, they recognize that this too, is not the end all be all of parenting. Parents, instead of feeling guilty about not spending enough time with your child – first take into account how much time you are truly present with them. If, after some reflection, you notice that you are going through the motions or rushing through the day, let’s talk that out and find ways to connect with yourself and your significant others. If you notice that you do in fact spend tons of quality time with your children, then let’s review your expectations and see what’s really getting in the way of the work/life flow. If, you notice that most of the time you are dividing your attention between work and kids and doing many if not most tasks haphazardly, then we need to check in on those feelings that prohibit you from setting boundaries.
Remember when there was Career Day at school and if you went, how your child beamed as you described your work? Some of you are able to demonstrate to your child day in and out what it is you do for a living: to pay the bills, to pay for extracurriculars, etc. What an incredible lesson! I know, the daily grind is difficult, but if you could take a step back and recognize that your work deserves your respect, then you can teach your children to respect it as well. Note that I did not say to lock yourself up for days, or that your children are ungrateful for not respecting your work hours. Quite the opposite, teaching them to respect their schooling and your work is a great lesson on accountability and impact on their life and society. It starts with you. There is time to play, there is time to study, there is time to work. Becoming a master scheduler can seem daunting at first because there are so many moving pieces to this puzzle. But, one step at a time gets you closer to the flow – as long as you have clarity of where it is you’re going and why. If you need guidance through this, I am here for you. We can figure it out together and make sense of the mayhem and put a stop to multitasking.