Recently I purchased a t-shirt from my children’s school that reads Operating at Full Potential. Don’t you love this?
The message is particularly apt for me, because these days I’m only dreaming of peak performance.
And yet, some weeks are just like that.
Like many of you, I continue to struggle with juggling all on my plate. I used to be an Olympic multitasker – I’m the gal who once boarded a bus from Hoboken, NJ to New York City with a bag of garbage because I was so lost in my to-do’s.
I was young and impatient back then so while the episode was funny, I didn’t really “learn my lesson.” I’m learning it now. At 43, my brain simply can’t process washing dishes, talking on the phone, supervising the twins’ homework, and answering my stepson’s questions about where he can find a spare roll of toilet paper.
Ample research exists about the perils of multitasking, most of which confirms that the supposed benefits are little more than an illusion. We just think we’re getting more done, but in reality, we’re only switching tasks because the brain can’t really process multiple cognitive feats. The garbage incident was harmless, but I confess to other times where multitasking could have led to a more damaging outcome. Thank goodness for new laws about texting and driving.
Admit it, you multitask, too. Who doesn’t? Especially working moms. Perhaps it’s because of evolutionary reasons, or the fact we’re hard-wired differently (which we are!), but wow, we women are the Cirque du Soleil of multitasking.
Which is nothing to celebrate.
Tackling “it all” poses a real quandary. Ask yourself: “What can I let go of?” “What’s my top priority today?” Finally, “am I being realistic?”
For me, this means I can’t always blog as often as I’d like. The world won’t end (but thank you to the few readers who have noticed the lapses). It also means that I might not make it to the gym this week because I’ve got a cold and I’m tired and why the heck should I push myself? So what if my thighs feel flabbier. I do enough. And that is precisely my point. If you want to operate at your full potential, try accepting “what is” instead of swimming upstream.
I’m beginning to see the rewards of doing less at once: more productivity, more energy, more quality time. More, more, more. It’s never too late.
If you have a funny multitasking story, or know someone who does, write me.