Talking on the phone, making lunches, getting ready for work and tidying the house all at the same time. Or driving, putting on makeup, talking to a friend in the passenger seat and sipping coffee. Multitasking seems like a talent.
But multitasking like this is an impossibility. Contrary to popular belief, even women cannot multitask. :) Doing any task requires our conscious attention and that attention can really be on only one thing at a time, even if that time is short. (Try to think of your breath while participating in a conversation. If you find it possible, is it really happening at the exact same time or is there a shift in your attention from one to the other?) It may seem like we are doing all these tasks at once when in actuality we place our attention on one task for a short amount of time, work ahead at it then switch our attention to another task and work ahead on that. This shift in attention, shift in gears, requires a lot of energy and can leave us drained and stressed.
I used to say that I was a pretty good multitasker. But since I’ve learned this bit of info I have come to realize that I can do my best on a task and do it most efficiently if I focus on just one task, give it my full attention and complete it before moving on to the next. I now prioritize my tasks and I have stopped fooling myself into thinking I am doing my best and being my most efficient by doing it all at once. My best and most efficient is giving my full attention.
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Practical Strategies to Deal with Daily Stressors
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