Why Moms Need to Stop and How to do it
All three of our kids were asleep, so I thought I would catch up on the latest podcast from a pastor I like. While listening I thought, maybe I’ll just check out what’s happening on Facebook. Oh, look this person posted a cool article. Halfway through the article I realized I hadn’t been paying attention to the podcast and was lost. I tried to focus on two different things at once, and wasn’t able to follow both.
Busy Being Busy
As moms we often pride ourselves on how many things we can juggle at the same time. We feel like this is what we have to do to get it all done, which we see a marker of being on top of things and getting the job done. We will often brag about it. There often seems to be a value to being busy, or we are busy trying to make ourselves busier.
But the multi-tasking we are priding ourselves on is actually hurting us. In our attempts to do it all and be the best we can be, we are actually not working to the best of our ability and hurting ourselves. Our brains are not able to focus on multiple things at once and it isn’t good for our brains for us to try. When we focus on one thing, and finish it to completion, we see better results than when we work on multiple projects at once.
Why it’s bad
Additionally, research has shown the damage that multi-tasking does to our brains. Researchers have found that we are less productive when we attempt to do multiple things at once, as opposed to when we focus on one task at a time. Trying to multi-task causes our brains to not be as effective as when we focus on one thing at a time. Furthermore, research has shown that multi-tasking causes a decrease in our IQs. (I don’t know about you, but as a mom, I feel like a lot of my IQ went to my kids with pregnancy and mom brain. I don’t need to lose any more.) There is even suggestive research that some kinds of multi-tasking, mainly those from screen-time, can cause permanent damage. (To read more on this, you can visit this).
Knowing the Difference
Waiting for the water on the stove to boil is probably a decent time to put the clothes in the dryer. Your mindless drive to work is probably a decent time to catch up on podcasts. But the drive to a new location when you’re following new directions may not be the best time to listen to that podcast. Your mind cannot focus on the new turns and streets and to the person speaking. It is ok to be working on different things, as long as your main focus is on the result of one project. The difference is not attempting to focus your mind on two different things, because it can’t do that.
Tips of Overcome
- Not only do we accomplish more when we have a plan, but we are better able to work through the process, see how well it is going, we are organized, and we don’t have an excuse to not finish something. Having a plan, and sticking to it, even when we don’t feel like it, allows us to see the process move forward. Planning our day allows us to see if and when we have time. Prioritize what is most important and don’t spend too much time on things that don’t have a lot of value.
- Say no
- In order to keep your to-do-list at a doable level, sometimes saying no to more projects is a must. For us people-pleasers, this can be hard. But having time to do things well is important. Sometimes we need to ask for help or delegate certain things. Often we have to set boundaries with family, friends and work in order to be certain we have the time we need to get things done.
- Focus on one result
- When writing on parenting, I have discussed not focusing on the results of what your child does, but on their learning process. It doesn’t matter that they aren’t the best at a certain chore or sport; what matters is that they are trying their hardest. In our case, we need to focus on the end result of one project at a time. Prioritize one thing at a time. Give it our full, undivided attention, work it to completion, and go from there. This plan of action will give us the best chance at success. Even if we do not succeed in the result we wanted, remember that failure is not fatal.
- Eliminate distractions
- Take the time you need to complete things. While trying to watch a new show isn’t the best time to focus on reading. Your mind can’t do both.
- Overworking ourselves, whether at work or at home, isn’t helping anyone. Find time for yourself. We need to treat our brain like any other muscle and give it time to rest. This goes the same for our bodies. Our minds do their best work when they have been rested.
- Let things go
- No one can do it all and that is ok. When you work with a plan and prioritize important things, you stand a better chance of doing your best. But if you can’t get to the dishes one day, it is ok. We are more likely to regret missing time with our family than we are to regret not getting the dishes done. Sometimes things don’t get checked off the to-do list.
What areas do you struggle with when it comes to doing it all or multi tasking? What can you do to work on this?