The Problem with Multitasking

I like depth. I also like to seize and create opportunities. “I am a finisher,” was my mantra for last month, my response to all the commitments I had lined up, which gradually became a tad too many. So much that I had to reevaluate my productivity, and answer to myself on the purpose behind some of my activities. I was multitasking like my life depended on it. I wondered why there was so much crammed into it, but now that I think about it, I get it. Just as it marks the end of a quarter, March is dedicated to Women’s history. Small wonder! The month in itself was made for superheroes, and mine came with goals that were partly made up of carry-over commitments (as a result of recent travel), crammed with events and to-dos.

While they were all good, well meaning and potentially productive, I had to remember that like (my) time, my mind is a resource, and resources need to be allocated and optimized for yield. I can only spread myself so thin, stretch my mind and attention span in so many directions, before burnout symptoms start to creep in.

Losing sleep, over-promising and under-performing and half-assed deliveries, mental absence, physical absence, forgetfulness, disappointment, struggling to catch up and then over compensating for missing out, poorly calculated optimism, losing out on me/family time, emotional and physical clutter, high stress and low motivation levels … It goes on.

Years ago, I read this quote in a book that said, “Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it,” and it stuck with me ever since. The message is strong, but my lesson is simple: Prioritize. Protect your calendar, and allow yourself to “deplate” (take things off your plate) when needed.

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