Friday, August 23, 2013

Tetris Time - Multitasking

Recently there has been a big push against multitasking which is not surprising since many of us would like to see life slow down but we are given reasons like; multitasking doesn't work, you're not really multitasking, or other dissuading comments.
I know I can feel a little helpless reading these things because these are other bloggers that seem to be living perfectly. Their homes always seem to be clean, their children never behave badly, they are successful bloggers, homemakers, mothers and homeschool on top of it all! So they must have figured everything out and are doing it correctly, right?
The truth is we are all different and the needs of our families are also different. There is no real right or wrong unless you do nothing at all.

Admittedly multitasking isn't always the way I would like to do things but I look at time like I do tetris. I even find myself humming Korobeiniki while performing tasks. Surely I'm not the only one, especially while rearranging the cabinets or fridge.
Multiple tasks are just apart of a busy life. There are children, pets, chores, shopping, work, clubs and various other activities and only 24 hours in a day and sadly at least part of those hours need to be spent sleeping! Darn that need for sleep I could get so much more done otherwise!
Trying to keep up with all these various tasks I also treat it like I'm playing a game of tetris because there are many tasks that can be fit together or fit into the lulls of daily life.

Let me get my geek on and explain this like the game.
It is never that I stop trying to finish a line (aka an activity) but sometimes pieces don't fit in perfectly and I am left with gaps (time). My goal of completing that line is the same but if a block won't fit properly then it just won't fit and trying to force it can cause more problems down the line. So instead I work on stacks to the sides and come back to filling in the gaps with pieces that will fit better. They may still not fit perfectly but something is better than nothing.
Real life example, please don't get too weirded out by my odd habit. I keep a magic eraser in the shower. Sometimes I would like a few extra minutes in the shower by myself so I take my magic eraser and scrub the soap scum that builds up. The tub may not be perfect but it is easier to keep up on for when I have time to do a better cleaning job and I got 5 minutes to myself and didn't have to worry about getting messy before work.

We all multitask to some point if you thinking about what multitasking is by definition: to perform two or more tasks simultaneously.
So if you are on a train to work you could be reading, checking your email, etc. Technically that is multitasking. Folks multi task in the kitchen all the time and while it can cause problems, unless you want to stagger food and take all night eating it or be forced to put things in the microwave then you have to learn to handle more than one thing at a time and instead of blaming multitasking for the fire alarm being the dinner bell instead look at personal organization and timing.

I would also venture to say there is a limit to how much a person can multitask. That limit is set by how involved something is physically and mentally, how long it takes to do that something and how well do you want it done.

If you focus on one thing you will nearly always get better results but if you are as busy as I am then sometimes you have to shoot for 'good enough' and realize any effort is better than no effort.

Using scheduling programs such as Cozi can sometimes help you see where the gaps are that you might not have otherwise recognized. It can also help people know what the schedule is so no one is caught off guard.
Now I don't fill every little thing into my Cozi or calendar. Some things are kind of a given like getting out of bed at 6am, feeding the children, getting ready for the day, and various chores so I don't put those down they either have a set time frame like 6-7:20 I'm getting the family up and out the door or at 8pm I put the children to bed other things I probably should put on (like my husband starting on call this week I just found out about that last night ugh).
The point here is finding the gaps and realizing that they are there. As tired and helpless as we can feel it can be easy to fall into the, "I just don't have time!" It's not that we are trying to lie to ourselves it's that we really do feel that way! I come home after work and will flop down and take time just to get my head straight and while it's not on the schedule I think it's something that is pretty needed.
If you make up your schedule and and you truly don't have any gaps of time it might be time to look at cutting back on something if at all possible. Some days are always going to be busier than others this is a pretty easy fun day for us but if you find everyday hectic you might need to look at your priorities and sanity level.

These are all my observations and feelings and what works for me. I know I used the word 'you' a lot but as I stated at the beginning there is no right or wrong as long as you keep moving forward.


  1. This post reminds me quite a bit of the book I've been trying to finish reading this week called Attack Your Day before it Attacks You. It's actually by the creater of the Day-Timer planner. They use the word flexicuting for being flexible about when you do your activities. However, my concern with your post is that you are saying doing nothing at all is wrong? ;)

    1. LOL sort of?
      Kind of one of those... well I don't have time to do 'all' the laundry so I just won't start... that kind of do nothing ;)Yer silly. :)