I thought that brain fog and Menopause ADD were going to be the last of the mind changes accompanying this time of life. I was wrong.
Turns out that along with some of the activities I’ve had to let go (windsurfing and running on pavement to name two) comes the latest casualty: multitasking.
Multitasking. That oh so helpful, even necessary adjunct to living in today’s world. As we say in Hawaii, “if can, can. If no can, no can.” And I “no can” multitask any more.
I have become the poster crone for leaving things half finished as I start another project or task in another room. The end result is a bed half made, dishes half done, a blog post half written.
All it takes is one interruption like the phone ringing, one of the cats mewing to come inside, or UPS making a delivery. Or my sweet hubby asking where he can find something. And I forget what I was doing.
Now I’m not at all certain that I was all that good at multitasking in my earlier years. I’m fairly certain that some of the plates I was spinning wobbled significantly even if they didn’t crash to the ground and break. I sure bought into the illusion that I could do more, faster, longer, etc.
But now? I forget that there are plates. Or spinning. I’m half afraid that I’ll be one of those old ladies that start frying eggs for breakfast and then decide to walk the dog, leaving the sizzling pan to fend for itself on the hot burner. I can hear my future grandkids tattling to their mom or dad, “Hey, come quick. Granny’s trying to burn down the house again.”
So, it seems that my latest efforts will go toward focusing on and doing one thing at a time. Which even as I mourn my inner multitasker, seems like a move forward.
How much better might it be to actually be present to the task, feeling, thought at hand? When multitasking, I’m always half in the future and therefore not here in this moment. Perhaps this is an “ability” best jettisoned along with all the clothes I can no longer wear comfortably.
The changes in the second half of life, they keep on coming. Here’s one that I just might be able to celebrate.
Multitasking is overrated. I bet you’ll find the tasks more enjoyable doing them one at a time. Sometimes I’m so rushed to get on to the next item on the list that I forget to enjoy what I’m doing. I love to walk the dog or read the paper with a hot cup of coffee. Take the ten minutes and make the most of it.
Sadly, those of us finding ourselves still working (long beyond the day we had envisioned ourselves volunteering in a museum or similar) and thrust in a world that requires multi-tasking – like it or not. “I want it yesterday” is demanded while unexpected clients drop in, someone else drops their ball that inadvertently affects your ball, phones ring and no bubble bath anywhere in sight. Add to this the brain freeze where nothing makes any sense, the memory is gone and all one sees are lips moving. There is a reason we were supposed to be enjoying the golden years in retirement – volunteering at the museum.
This is an important article because a number of studies have shown that multitasking actually increases errors and decreases efficiency. It’s better to focus on one task at a time.