Ironically, as I type this blog, I have several tabs open (albeit they pertain to my blog), I am consuming my breakfast (it’s a write my blog at 5am kind of day…), but as for everything else (read: children, electronics) all is quiet. This will be the most focused time of my day.
As soon as my kids wake up, I’ll be making lunches while making their breakfast, while brushing one’s hair, (you get the idea), so even if we take electronics out of the equation, I multi-task all day long.
In reading the article about email at work and productiveness, I had to stop and think: is my email affecting how much work I am able to effectively complete in a day? The answer I think may be yes. As a Teacher-Librarian part of my role is to be a support person within the school. I collaborate with others, gather resources – but I am also expected to manage the library and work within the Teacher-Librarian group to support with resources as well. If we think about these emails alone (not to include the other resources from admin, boards, outside agencies…) anytime an email pops up when I’m in the middle of doing something else, I stop, evaluate and either deal with the email or deal with what is pressing at the time. This takes time away from what I am doing at that moment in time. So I wonder, if everyone thought about how they reacted to a new email, would their answers be similar?
In addition to the ironic wasting of time that inevitably happens while we multitask, I was reading that the increase in multitasking due to technology can have a negative effect on our brains, as it works to produce cortisol (the stress hormone) in our bodies.
Is it time we make a point to focus on Monotasking?
On the other hand…
I do have to say, this semester, I haven’t gotten all of my homework done at the peaceful hour of 5am. Sometimes life doesn’t work like that, and I’ve hired a babysitter a couple of times so I can focus on getting through it. The problem is, I proceed to a coffee shop during that time to work, and there are so many distractions, in addition to my phone and my computer, there is music playing, people coming and going, people talking all around. Let’s be honest – I’m paying for the sitter, so this time has REALLY got to be productive! So, in order to ensure I’ve been focused on ONE task (my homework), I have discovered that in a public place it takes two devices for me to focus, I have my computer running with whatever I’m working on ready to go, and then I found if I used my headphones and listened to music (classical instrumental) I was able to drown out all of the distractions and able to complete a large chunk of work in that time frame.
Was it all in my head, or did multi-tasking help me focus?
I have heard more and more about being mindful recently. I’ve heard it as a phenomenon in classrooms as well as people recommending adults give it a try.
I gave yoga a try recently, and the first time I did it, they had a few minutes at the end where you are just supposed to lay there with your eyes closed – I’m not going to lie, my brain was going a mile a minute, what am I supposed to be doing? Are people getting up yet? What am I going to make for supper- you get the idea. My second time doing yoga, I realized that this was supposed to be an excersize in mindfulness, and I was able to do what Andy describes in the video (just be present), I have to say I felt a lot more relaxed after I was done than I would normally feel!
After considering my days of multitasking, emails and brief moments of mindfulness, I have to wonder -would limiting how long our email is open for in the day help to decrease multitasking? And should we be combating the urge to multitask?