Originally published Monday, 11 June 2012.
We live in a relentlessly fast paced world.
And I can get relentlessly caught up in it as well.
Doing several things at once has become the new normal. There is even a new normal answer to the question, “How are you?”
The answer used to be: “Fine, thanks.”
The answer is now: “Busy!”
And that feels perfectly normal, right?
As women, we live in a world where we expect to accomplish many things at once, and to do so with excellence. I don’t know any moms, whether working inside or outside the home, who don’t feel pulled in many directions. We have high demands and expectations for ourselves.
Yet while the myth of the do-it-all multi-tasking woman may look great on paper, in reality, it’s just plain exhausting.
The truth is this: while you can do many things, you can’t do them all at the same time. You can only do some of it, some of the time.
And this flies in the face of the pace that we’ve set for ourselves.
The question we should be asking ourselves is: what can we do about it?
I’ve found I need to proactively anchor myself so I don’t get pulled out to sea with the tide.
Here’s the approach I take:
- I set my bearings. We all need to be able to separate out the urgent versus important in our lives. My definition of important flows from Mark 12:30-31: Love God and one another. I want to make sure that this, above all else, gets my time and attention. That may come in the way of family time. It may come in the shape of an unexpected call or meeting with someone who needs me to be a listening ear. Being able to sort the wheat from the chaff throughout the day helps me to use my time wisely.
- Write it out. I don’t like to start the day, or even the week, without a written game plan. I like to lay out my priorities in a concrete schedule. (By the way, prayer automatically tops my list. But I don’t always get to it! I would like to grow my consistency in this area.)
- Fight perfectionism. I’ve noticed that this is a recurrent theme here! I think that underneath perfectionism lies pride. It’s a pride that says, I can do this and so Ishould do this. This is an attitude that overestimates my power, and underestimates God’s! But when I drop my pride, what a wave of relief.
So, I’m a recovering multi-tasker. As anyone who is recovering from anything knows, it’s an on-going journey.
But today, I’m on my way.
Question: How about you? Do you swim in a sea of multi-tasking? Or do you have a way to head for shore?
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The best way we learn is from each other. You have a unique wisdom and insight that can truly bless others. So jump in and add your voice!
Dr. Ann is a Christian M.D., wife to a wonderful husband, and mom to a terrific gang of three. At The Marriage Checklist Ann blogs about marriage, motherhood, and more! She is syndicated on Crosswalk.com, and has been featured onBlogHer.com, MichaelHyatt.com, Fox news, and Good Morning America.
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Copyright Dr. Ann 2012
(photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/audfriday