Today, on my way out of the gym at work, I laughed at myself. With my phone and iPad tucked under one elbow, a glass of water balanced in one hand, and a towel in the other hand, I opened the door with a combination of my second elbow and then a quick foot maneuver. It made me start to wonder how many times a day I multitask and just how many creative ways I do so. I am constantly opening doors by kicking them with my heel, as my hands are full of papers, laundry, projects, whoknowswhat. I often find myself juggling many activities at one time, but I don’t often stop to admire my handywork or to marvel in the constant juggling that I do. Hell, I don’t even just exercise when I’m exercising. I ride the stationary bike, primarily so that I can read (yep, my secret is now out about how I manage to read so much each day). And while I might get a slightly more intense workout in if I didn’t read, I find that I’m willing to compromise in many ways in order to multitask.
So today, as I karate chopped my way into the bathroom with the heel of my foot, I started wondering just how many times a day I juggle.
And does everyone multitask?
Some would say it’s probably type A personalities that do this the most (which I’m definitely not), while others say it’s a woman’s thing and that men don’t juggle the way women do. Interesting. True? Not true? I have no idea.
It would be interesting if each of us took stock of how much we multitask in a day to see how creative, insane, insatiable, productive we actually are. When do we multitask? If I’m doing things for myself, do I tend to juggle more? Do we do it at work more than at home, or the other way around?
While multitasking is certainly productive and even invigorating (look how much laundry I got folded while I was on the phone!), it can also be counterproductive…or downright dangerous. How many times have I dropped the hummus or salsa on the floor? the hammer on my foot? in my race to do just too many things. And then, of course, cleaning up the floor (or going to the ER) takes more time away from the task at hand, reminding me that multitasking isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
Of course, multitasking can take on much more sinister angles when it involves today’s technology-drenched world. Do we put the phone away when our kids are around? Are we checking Facebook “just for a second” when we are supposed to be answering a homework question or responding to a spouse? Do we have certain social media channels open while we work, creating extra noise and distraction when we should be focusing? Also, in our rush to get too many things accomplished, do we give up on the quality of our work and the intensity of our interactions?
At this time of year, that can be so overwhelming for those getting ready for Passover, we could probably benefit from taking stock of our multitasking habits. And even if you aren’t busy flipping your house over in search of that bread, you can always benefit from analyzing your habits – the good and the bad. It might be time to step it up for more efficiency, or to learn to appreciate life more by trying to juggle less. It’s your call, of course; just try not to make your analysis while juggling 20 other things at the same time.