Sunday, February 23, 2014

3 Tips to Avoid the Trap of Multitasking and Missing the Moment

Investing in the Things that are Important - Photo by Joonas Lyytinen
Multitasking is a skill in which many people in our society excel. Take, for instance, the parent who can cook a meal, help with homework, and check email all at the same time. Or the employee who can impress clients and the boss through displays of amazing efficiency and innovative thinking while driving in rush hour traffic. Just because we are in the vicinity does not mean that we are present in the moment.

Although technological advances hail the potential to save time, how much time do we gain to enjoy the priorities in our lives? Many of us find it easy to do so many things at the same time that we fail to appreciate the moment and the other people in our lives with whom we are sharing those moments. Here are a few tips to ensure that more of our moments have lasting meaning:

Time Management for Parents - Photo by dhester

#1 Cut the Fluff on the Calendar

Many of us find it tempting to overextend on a regular basis, turning us into people who are constantly moving at breakneck speed and rarely have time to enjoy the journey or even the destination. Has our lifestyle become so expensive that we have replaced living with merely existing?

If our family is our priority, should we schedule time to be with and focused those we love? If our faith is high on the list, do our commitments agree? If we seek to be true friends, how much time do we invest into those relationships?

Some of us tend to fill our schedule with other people's priorities or involve the kids in so many activities that none of those activities are enjoyable any more. The kids will likely learn how to schedule their adult lives by watching us. What are we teaching them?

Tips for Connecting with the Family & Unplugging - Photo by Paolo Neo

#2 Unplug

It's okay...really. Electronic devices are sort of like dust and dirty dishes. If you ignore them or turn the switches to off, they will very likely be waiting for you when you are ready to pay attention to them again. Do we need to talk on a cell phone while driving down the road? Is Call Waiting necessary? Do we truly need to watch and read every post on social media sites? Is it necessary to be available or in front of a screen 24/7, even while eating or sleeping?

Scheduling time to disconnect electronic devices can free the rest of the schedule for connecting with people in face-to-face interactions. If we are in the business of teaching our kids to interact and engage with others, it stands to reason that we should give them ample opportunity to practice. Picture this as an investment in the family's future.

Will the decision to unplug be popular and met with great enthusiasm by the ones you love? Maybe not initially...but the potential benefits may far outweigh the risks.

Engaging in Activities that Really Matter - Photo by Chief Journalist Rick Chernitzer

#3 Beware of iWMT

It's the greatest and latest craze that has overtaken much of the world. The iWMT promises to bring us freedom from numerous tasks and connect us with people we didn't know we even wanted to be around. It can consume us with worry or turn completely absorb our time to the detriment of everything around us. Yet, engaging in it is often what people regret when they check the rear view mirror of their lives.

What is iWMT? I'm Wasting My Time.

Even if we believe we deserve more, it matters not how old or young, rich or poor, brave or timid, intelligent or intellectually challenged we are...we are each given 168 hours each week (unless we're changing the clocks up or back an hour). We might try to sleep faster, but that line of thinking eventually takes its toll. Multitasking only goes so far. If we take an honest look at what we do, we may discover that we may be wasting large portions of it.

Choose wisely. Consider a long contemplated risk. Learn to play an instrument. Further one's education. Befriend someone who is lonely. Adopt a healthier lifestyle. Enjoy a sunset or gaze at the stars. Write a book. What can we do that might make a difference ten, twenty, or more years from now?

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