“Multitasking is the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time” – Unknown
Earlier this week, I had a moment when I realized that I was an active participant on a conference call, perusing an email, making a list of school events that I needed to remember and playing “Candy Crush”. Simultaneously. And not really doing any of those four things successfully. What the hell?? When had my life come to this?
In the BC (Before Children) years, when I didn’t have at least three electronic devices within arm’s reach at every given moment, I didn’t “multitask”. That was also the time when my house was immaculate and uncluttered (in my misty water-colored memories, anyway) and I wasn’t concerned with making multiple lunches every night, fighting to get children to bathe and then fighting to get them out of the bath, doing rock-scissors-paper with my spouse about whose turn it is to “sleep in” on the weekend (to the wasteful hour of 8 am!), squeezing much-needed workouts in, spending a half hour trying to brush out a tangled, matted mess of hair on a squirming, screaming 5-year old, or managing schedules for after school care, sports, dance and music lessons for two people who are not me.
Back in the good ol’ days, I woke up, got ready, went to work, came home and either spent the evening with friends or at home. That’s it. Yes, I did laundry, I vacuumed, I cooked and cleaned, all that stuff. But it was one thing at a time. I used to pride myself on my ability to “stop and smell the roses”, meaning fully focus on being in the moment and appreciate everything around me.
What happened? It can’t be only the presence of two children that is to blame. And it’s not. It’s also not only technology-slash-electronics. You have to add in the self-imposed pressure to be everywhere and everything all of the time. And all that adds up to remembering a little more than half of the places I need to be and things I need to do at any given time, giving much less than my full attention to what is in front of me most of the time and generally half-assing my way through everything. I’m saying that because I need to own it. It’s not kids, it’s not my phone/computer/tablet, it’s not is societal pressures (because I give approximately zero shits about keeping up with the Joneses), it’s not my work schedule, it’s me.
What I yearn for, and what I want to strive for, is a simpler, more focused life. What I’m struggling with is how to get there. Please feel free to share any suggestions in the comments, and stick with me as I go on this journey to simplify and focus.