Multitasking is a Lie.

So, for the last 6 (almost 7) years, I’ve been at this owning-your-own-business thing. And one thing I’ve always prided myself on is the ability to do multiple things at once.

I can watch a movie and build a website. I can play cards and play on Facebook. I can wash dishes and help my son study for a test (okay – make that fill the dishwasher. I don’t “do” dishes anymore).

A couple of years ago my husband mentioned to me that I should stop trying to do more than once thing at a time. Because really, I wasn’t doing any of them well.

What the deuce?! Did he really think that about me? That I was half-assing my way through life by trying to do too much at once?

I was affronted. Positively fit to be tied. And because I tend to be both stubborn and prideful, I told him where he could stick it. Well, not in so many words. I just got upset and pouted for awhile.

And kept to my multitasking way of life.

This year was supposed to be about details. That was my word for the year. But the journey toward details has not been what I was expecting. Nor was it the details I thought I was looking for.

I was expecting to pay attention to more details in the work I was doing. But what emerged was that I was missing a lot of the details of life.

I was missing the funniest parts of movies because I was only half listening to them. And though my husband is a very patient (well, sort of patient) guy, he got fed up and stopped rewinding for me. (He rewound a LOT, it was very nice of him, and he was very patient for a very long time).

I was missing sweet moments with my boys because I was too busy trying to finish one more thing. (They are the sweetest boys ever, and I’m forever making them wait on me).

I was missing my daughter catching a pop-fly to the face because I was busy looking at a message on my phone. (Seriously, that girl is tough as nails. She barely even cried, and refused to even think about sitting out the game, even though the ball hit her so hard that it left the mark of the stitches on her face).

In short, I was missing a lot because I was too preoccupied doing too many things at once.

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So, here I am, ready to admit that my husband was right all along.

He was right about all of it. I was not doing my best at anything because I wasn’t giving anything my 100% focus.

And since I’m a strong believer in this bible verse (really, I’m a strong believer in the entirety of the Bible…just making that clear), I realized I wasn’t only not giving my all to the things I was doing, but I was also not giving my all to God.

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That was the turning point.

So, the new mantra is “do everything like you are doing it for God” + “one thing at a time”. Even if it’s scrubbing toilets. Or working on something for a client. Or spending time with my husband and kids.

Kudos to the amazing Jeremy Krill for recognizing my shortcomings and pointing them out. I’m sure regretting not listening to you sooner.

And if I’m being honest, I am not that great at playing Euchre and playing on facebook. You can ask anyone who has had to be my partner…

5 Responses to Multitasking is a Lie.

  1. Lisa Wilder says:

    Beautiful, Amanda. You’re about to find out for yourself just how big a lie multi-tasking is when you discover that lo and behold, you’re actually more productive, not less, when giving your full attention to each task.

    And your relationships…with God, with your darling husband and kids, with your friends, and dare I say, your Euchre partners……will all flourish.

  2. Amanda May says:

    Hello there! I just happened to stumble across your awesome website, and this article in particular. Let me just say THANK YOU!! I’m not going to say that there aren’t seriously talented people out there who absolutely can do about 15 million things all at once while carrying on a coherent conversation, while also walking and chewing bubble gum at the same time…My own mother is one of those exceptionally talented otherworldly beings…and when she talks and chews bubble gum, nary a smacking sound is to be heard! But what I will say is that for everyone else, what you have said here is absolutely true.

    For years I have felt like less of a person because, try as I may, I simply cannot do more than one or two things with full concentration. Now I realize that it’s a good thing, not a design flaw. It means I have more of a tendency to put all my focus into what I’m working on, which means, more often than not, I’m going to produce better results than I would otherwise.

    It’s good to know others share this same view. I can now be proud to be a single-tasker!!

    • says:

      Somehow just saw your comment! So glad you happened across my site. And yes, you are right, there are people who can, but that doesn’t mean we all should :-)

  3. […] Every year, I pick a word that guides me through the months. Something that I need to work on, or just something that stands out as something I need to address. Last year, the word I picked was “Details”. I wrote a blog post about some of the stuff that had resulted from that selection here. […]

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