Monday, November 4, 2019

Whole Life Multi-tasking VS. Batching

For a minute there multi-tasking was all the rage. But now we know better. Studies have shown that divided attention is way less effective than focusing on a single task at a time. There have even been studies done that show multitasking has a negative effect on IQ. I don't know about you but I can't afford for my brain to work less efficiently. And for the record, running the dishwasher, washing a load of clothes, and cooking dinner, is not the same thing as trying to write that report for work while binging Outlander.

Obviously, Outlander will require your full attention. Priorities, people. 

But what about your whole life? What about raising kids, and working for that promotion, and writing your book? The first step is to have a good read on your personality. So let's start there.

Know how you get stuff done. 

I knew I couldn't work and be the mom I wanted to be because I'm an introvert homebody bordering on hermit. But a lot of my friends who stayed at home hated it because they needed people and adult conversations and the satisfaction that comes with a paycheck with your name on it.

Fortunately, we live in a time when you can work or stay at home, or work at home! There is no right or wrong way to do it. There is only the way that works best for you and your family.

Now, let's get to the multi-tasking vs. batching.

What's this batching thing?

If you don't know what batching is, it is accomplishing tasks that are similar at the same time to optimize the time spent. For instance, it's more effective to make your lunch for work tomorrow and your kid's lunches as well, instead of making yours, cleaning up, going to run an errand coming back home, getting everything out, making their lunch and cleaning up again.

At work, you might want to have a particular time to batch all the email and correspondence for the day rather than responding as things come up.

It's even a trick if you are a worrier to tell yourself all week that you can't worry about (fill in the blank) right now because you do that from  2:30  to 3;00 on Sunday afternoon.

How to apply it to your entire life:

You can take the broader view of this for seasons of life. When my kids were small and our days revolved around learning I made this the focus for an entire decade. I was educating them and educating myself in the process. I also used that time to read all the classics, along with personal development books, and it was during this time that I came up with the one new thing concept.

What's your mission for this season of life?

It helped to think of it as a mission. Every day when my feet hit the floor I knew what the mission was. And not to be too fancy but there are macro missions and micro missions.

Macro mission: Educate kids K-8 while teaching them to teach themselves and create life long learners. 

Micro missions:   planning/designing my own curriculum, creating lesson plans, etc. 

It can be very helpful to take this kind of approach wherever you are in life. You have to ask yourself, what are you going to have to show at the end of this particular season?

Some times are obvious like your college years. You'll have a degree. Others may take some digging. What is it that you want to accomplish during this time of your life? How can you make the most of a certain decade like your 30s or 40s?

It likely won't fit tidily into a time frame like that but you get the idea.

It's also very helpful to remember that you can do it all. Just not at the same time. This kind of whole life view allows you to dive deep and actually think back on periods of your life and realize that you have something to show for each of them.


When you get some quiet time to sit down  ask yourself these questions:

What's my personality and how do I get my best work done?

Where I am in my life?

What is the overall mission of this stage of life?

What are some goals or activities that I can batch together that would tie in with this particular season of my life?

As a bonus,  psychologists tell us that learning something new and marking time are two ways we can slow down that feeling of time passing too quickly. You know, when you wake up and realize it's September and you cannot remember anything important you've accomplished in the past nine months?

Looking at life as a series of seasons can also help you combat the feeling that you are behind and prevent feeling overwhelmed.

How could you put this concept to work in your personal life or career?

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