Should Moms Stop Multitasking?

multitaskingIf you’re a mom and anything like me, you’ve got about 35,000 things all going on at the same time. The laundry is spinning, the dishes are washing, the kids are eating breakfast, I’m on my laptop paying bills and on my phone checking emails, the news is playing in the background, and the time is ticking on my watch. There’s no denying that being a mom is whirlwind of activity, a delicate juggling act where it seems that if one of the balls drop, they all fall. And like so many mothers, the only way I ever get close to accomplishing everything I need to do in a day is by multitasking. At any given time I’m working on several projects at once. For example, right now I’m writing the blog, cooking dinner, answering a four year old’s questions every 15 seconds, on hold with my pediatrician’s office, and thinking about the class I’m teaching tonight. Sound familiar? Keep reading.

It’s challenging, frazzling, and exhausting, but it work…sort of.

The turning point for me came one night when I found myself lying in bed, mindlessly searching the internet with terms like “how to get more done in the day”. Once again wiped out from my routine, I reviewed my growing, unfinished to-do list and set my alarm so I could get up even earlier to try and get through it all the next day. If only I could find a few more hours to get everything done…

And after weeks and weeks for falling short and ending the day feeling like I accomplished nothing, I decided to try something new. I was going to cut back on the multitasking. One of my main complaints about my crazy schedule was that I was working and working and working, and while I was definitely getting stuff done, it didn’t seem like I was doing any of it very well. I was stretching myself so thin, and in so many directions, that I wasn’t really accomplishing anything of substance. So instead of waking up and immediately diving into 10 different tasks, I decided to try tackling one issue at a time and really giving it my full and undivided attention.

And it worked. Abandoning multitasking improved my level of concentration, allowed me to really devote myself to what I was doing, and boosted my overall productivity. Instead of jobs taking much longer than they needed to because I was also doing other things and getting distracted along the way, I was easily finishing tasks, feeling satisfied with my work, and moving on the next item on my to do list. The results were amazing.

I see you rolling your eyes, and I know what you’re thinking. Abandon the multitasking??? What fantasy world do I live in??? How will you ever get everything done??? Don’t I know how busy moms are???

Obviously this approach doesn’t work in all situations and isn’t right for everyone all the time. Even for all its benefits, there are days when this method simply won’t work for me or my schedule. There are just certain days where moms have too much going on and not enough quality time to devote to actually doing any of it. But if you’re a busy mom like me and constantly overwhelmed, working all day, and feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing, why not give it a try? You may be surprised in the results. Not only may you get more done, but the sense of accomplishment that comes from actually being able to focus on a task and do it well has an amazing carry over effect to the other items on your to do list.

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About This Blogger

Jen Gehring

When she’s not managing political campaigns or teaching law classes, Jen Gehring enjoys spending time with her family, including her two young children. A fashionista and recovering-perfectionist, this busy working mom uses her precious seconds of free time to run, sip wine, and escape into reality television. She’s been a freelance writer for the last five years.