Women are uniquely gifted in the area of multi-tasking. And we are quite proud of this “gift.”

Drinking coffee while talking on the phone, preparing supper and sending an important email. And don’t forget kicking the ball back to the kiddos who keep sending it into the kitchen. Over and over again.

Surely nothing could go wrong there. We are making our lives BETTER and more efficient by doing all this at once.

Aren’t we?

Multi-tasking has always seemed like a badge of honor to me and doing many things at once usually felt REALLY good – in one hour, I could check several things off my list and that was an accomplishment.

I’m not sure when this feeling shifted, but I no longer find multi-tasking quite as rewarding as I used to. I’m finding it to be quite the opposite in most situations.

I may have started feeling some conviction in this area quite a while ago when I realized that my children were having to say my name more than two or three times to get my attention while I finished up an “important email” and ย stirred some chili on the stove. They just wanted to show me a new creation they had built, but I was missing the moment and dampening their excitement.

But I think the realization fully hit me while in a conversation with a friend.

I missed an important sentence in a discussion with this friend about her current struggle. I missed it because I was distracted by two other tasks I thought I could handle discreetly while still fully listening to my friend. And in missing this key detail, the advice and encouragement I offered to follow-up were not quite on base.

Relationship failure on my part. Moment missed.

Multi-tasking has been stealing some of my joy.

{Please don’t mistake this statement as me saying there is no place for multi-tasking. I still find it useful in some situations, but MUCH less than previously.}

How can multi-tasking steal joy out of my life?

The joy is stolen when I am doing so many things at one time that I am unable to enjoy the moment. And most of that joy is stolen in the context of relationships.

Multi-taskingย as a wifeย can lead to less communication with the hubby.

Multi-tasking as a parent can lead to the kiddos fighting for my attention or being somewhat unattended.

Multi-tasking in my home can lead to a less-than-ideal home environment for the whole family – clutter, disorganization, and so on.

Multi-tasking in other settings – with friends or relatives – can lead to others feeling less important than the “other things” you are trying to get done while with them.

And it can be very hard to de-program the lifestyle of a proud multi-tasker. {I’m there right now – trust me.} There is a sort of “high” from being able to juggle several things – but it cannot compare to the joy of living in the moment with those around you and cultivating those important relationships in your life.

My challenge for you {and myself} today is to evaluate just how much you multi-task during the day, particularly in the presence of others.

Don’t eliminate it all together – doing several things at once is NECESSARY at times. Just put it aside where you can, especially where it is affecting meaningful connection with others and stealing that joy.

Don’t let your innate ability to multi-task be the reason you miss out on life as it happens around you!

*****

Are you a chronic multi-tasker? Have you managed to strike an appropriate balance in this area? I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this subject!