The other day I was multi-tasking because that’s the job description of being a new mom. You will do everything, be everything, and do it all, leaving you frazzled and looking haggard in the process. Pay: nothing.
On this day, though, I was multitasking like a champ. Hunter was on the custom ladder that Jake made for her watching me chop vegetables and stir the mushrooms simmering on the stovetop. I was like an octopus, one hand stirring the pot, then another arm to the oven to check the vegetables, then another arm would reach out to Hunter and feed her. All of this while I was facetiming with my mother-in-law. I deserved the multitasking star.
I took a break to change Hunter’s wet diaper to return to a smoky kitchen. When I checked the oven, I found I had left my oven mitt to roast along with the vegetables. The mitt was black and seriously smoking.
My multitasking could’ve caused a real disaster. No star for me
As humans, we’re smart. Our brain can handle multiple functions.
Right now, you’re listening to this podcast, maybe you’re driving, and thinking about what you want for dinner, reminding yourself to not leave the oven mitt in the oven like a moron, you switch lanes, wonder whether to turn this podcast off and change it to Oprah’s Masterclass – I mean, who doesn’t love Oprah, a friend texts you in which you respond with both hands on the phone and your knee on the wheel, actually this is a pretty good podcast – you’ll stick through the next few minutes, you decide to make it easy on yourself and not burn the house down and get take-out, all while you’re breathing and your heart is beating.
We’re wired to muti-task. But although you can multitask, and maybe you’re really good at getting multiple tasks done at once, you cannot multi-focus, which means you’re probably not doing a really good job at any of those tasks.
You can do multiple things at once, but you can only focus on one thing at once.
As a new mom, I often feel like that oven mitt – my hair is on fire, but I still am going through the motions of life like it’s not.
It’s only when we can slow down, and be fully present to what’s in front of us, that we can enjoy the presence of life around us. Otherwise we’re too busy, too distracted, too tired, too *whatever you’re feeling* to see the magic of the moment.
The real task is to experience the person in front of us …to truly hear them without our own thoughts getting in the way …to be present to the task at hand with full enjoyment, creativity and no distractions.
That task is no longer a task to complete quickly, but something you can enjoy.
I know what you’re thinking…Audrey, that Zen Buddhist Dalia Lama stuff sounds really nice on paper. Namaste. But this is real life. I got stuff to do!
I get it. We all do. You’re not alone.
But it’s more important now, more than ever, to slow down and tune in because everything is pining for your attention. Everything – the ping on your phone begs for your response, your children want quality time with you, your job demands tasks to be returned, errands that need to be run, bills you need to pay, garbage that stinks up the kitchen and the worries in your head of not getting it all done in time.
You don’t have to be it all or do it all. Actually it’s pretty impossible. You won’t do it all well.
Instead of wanting more, I invite you to want less and be more focused on the very most important things.
Focus helps guide you to what is most important and helps you stay on your purpose.
If you don’t define what is most important to you, someone else will. People will nag for your attention. Tasks will BEG for you to complete them.
Do you ever get to the end of your day, and wonder what the heck did I accomplish today? Have you been there? I mean, you did stuff. You were in motion, but you didn’t move the ball forward. You were in action, but didn’t accomplish anything today.
I don’t want you to feel this way at the end of your life.
So, do this with me:
- Ask: What are all of the things you’re holding now? (Well, maybe not holding, but juggling, and maybe even dropping. I know, it’s a lot, sister!)
- Reflect: Are these the most important things that will make the biggest difference in your life or the lives you love
- Breathe: Take 3 deep breaths. What is the most important thing right now? What is the biggest regret you’ll have?
Now, this could be a big life goal or a change in direction that could seem scary. We major in minor things and get distracted and busy with the small stuff and it keeps us from accomplishing the BIG stuff.
What showed up for you may not be something big at all. It may be something small but really meaningful, like “figure out what IS most important. Or rest now. Or go to yoga. Or go to yoga with Audrey.”
You can use this easy exercise anytime you feel untethered to help bring you back to center and what’s most important to you.
Keep asking, what is important right now? Keep asking this until you get down to the small and doable action that serves your bigger purpose.
Was this an ah-ha for you as it was for me? Let me know on instagram!