Week 5 Challenge: How to Avoid Multitasking Pitfalls

Welcome to Week 5 of the Challenge. Whether you are just joining me or have been following this challenge for the past four weeks, I think there is a lot to be gained with this week’s discussion on Multi-tasking regardless of where you are at on your journey. For the majority of us, we feel this constant pressure to do more with less. Some of these demands may be realistic ,for example those that occur within our workplace, while other demands may be self-imposed. It’s important to be able to differentiate between the two and know what is really within your control.

So if everyone is doing it, why should I stop? Won’t I be viewed as inadequate? This is a common fear and honestly is a fear that maintains the behavior of multitasking. Everyone has their own threshold of what they are able to handle. Knowing your limitations and being honest with yourself about them is critical. The truth is that to a certain point, multitasking is not sustainable. We try to multitask at home and at work to be more efficient, however the result is that we waste time switching between tasks and create stress that we were trying to avoid by multitasking!

Prolonged multi-tasking can contribute to:

  • increased symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • decrease in our ability to focus
  • physical and mental fatigue
  • negative impact on our relationships
  • low quality in the tasks being performed

Challenge: Try one of these tips below this week!

  • Be present. To be present means focusing on the here and now so that you are in tuned with your bodies internal and external responses in that moment. It means not worrying about the past or future concerns and giving your full attention to your present activity.  In the Week One Wake Up Challenge I gave tips on how to be present with yourself.
  • Evaluate your morning routine: How do you start your day? If you feel like you “hit the ground running” this may be the pace that follows you throughout the day. See if there is room for improvement in your morning routine so that you can start your day with intention.
  • Set boundaries with your availability: With the exception of family/friend emergencies, there are things that we give our attention to immediately that does not require that level of a response. Establish a realistic boundary for yourself. For example, if you are in the middle of a task that will take 15-30 minutes, you may put your phone on no interruptions mode so you’re not distracted by ringing or buzzing.
  • Challenge feelings of guilt/shame: Feelings of inadequacy are further complicated by feelings of guilt or shame when you feel you are not giving your “peak performance”. Evaluate your negative self-talk and core beliefs that reinforce you are only good if you are always productive. Honestly, how useful are you to yourself and those around you if you don’t take care of yourself.

Take the time for yourself to implement this challenge. We are creatures of habit so it takes repetition and consistency to create change.

Have a Successful Week!