Single Tasking vs Multi-Tasking

The other day I opened my pantry to find my almond milk in there.

Me:  “Who the hell put….this….in….. <realizing that it was me>  …..oh yeah <haha>…me”

I have done many things like this.  Some of my top brainless wonders have been forgetting to pick up my children, cooking a pork roast for 12 hours, and flooding both my old house (once) and our “new” house (thrice)!~ Yes, that’s right, 4 times.  The first time I decided to run a bath for the boys, as it was filling I went to the kitchen to do a couple things and meanwhile, the phone rang.  It was my mom.  We started a conversation about a home project that mom wanted to start, and I was completely engrossed in helping her come up with some ideas for it.  As we chatted this way and that about it, I suddenly thought I heard what sounded like running water…..

Me:  <look around the corner to the bathroom and see water flowing out of the bathroom and down the hall into the bedrooms>  “Oh.  My.  God!”  I say and hang up <leaving my mom to imagine all sorts of horrible things>

I didn’t even know what to do first, other than shut the water off.  I grabbed towels, blankets and comforters trying to absorb as much water as I could.

Me:  <suddenly a thought> Oh NO!  the basement!

I run downstairs to find the water running from the ceiling.  In a total panic, I call my neighbor Jeff and he came running over with his shop-vac and together, we worked to stop the flowing water!

It was such a mess!

That was my our first home.  Then we moved into our newer home and in this one, I would fill the laundry room sink with water to mop.  Again it started much the same, I started to fill the sink and then left to do “just a couple QUICK things”, and once again, heard running water and in a panic, ran back to find water running all over!

I would like to say I learned my lesson but I went on to do that EXACT same idiot thing two more times!  Thankfully each of those times, the room in basement below the laundry room wasn’t finished.  Once we finished that room, I made a promise to myself that I would never again walk away from running water.  Now I stand there patiently as it fills and TURN the water off.

The funny thing is now whenever I hear running water I have what amounts to PTSD where I run to first the laundry room (washer filling), to the kitchen (dishwasher filling) or the bathroom (someone in the shower).  I will admit that I do still run the coffee maker without placing my cup under the spout…..more than once I have come around the corner to a coffee waterfall onto the kitchen floor.

This is how I live my life, 50 things going on all at once pulling me in what feels a thousand directions.  Most days I feel frazzled at best!

Multi-tasking is often praised upon, leaving us to feel that if we are not juggling a half-dozen things at once, we are somehow failing.  But if you think about it, it is kind of a crazy way to live.  Doing one thing, and doing it well and then crossing it off my list (if I made those) and then moving onto the next item is nothing I have ever done.  Instead, I am simultaneously  trying to accomplish a minimum of 3 tasks and then most of the time, I find myself standing in the middle of the room wondering what I am doing there.


I have done this so much so that I found myself in unfamiliar territory (anxiety).  Since then, I am trying to exercise more single handed tasking into my day.  Instead of thinking that the world will stop if I don’t complete the laundry list of items I’ve listed in my head, I am trying to accept that there is only so much time in a day and there are only so many tasks that can be completed (sanely).

In other words, I am trying to be realistic about what I can accomplish.

So, I am trying to think along the lines of kitchen (√), bathroom #1 (√), etc.  If I run out of time, there is always tomorrow.  This doesn’t always work (like the other day when I nearly ran out of gas running errands (trying to accomplish just one more thing before the gas station you know), I putt-putt-putted into the gas station), but I am improving in this new mindset.

I am trying to de-clutter my brain to assist with this.

When driving I am doing so without music, allowing my mind the quiet and calm.  When running or walking Elsa, I also do that without distraction (leaving my phone behind), so that I can focus on the peace of nature (when Elsa is behaving that is!).  Research has shown that carrying our phone significantly decreases our attention to what is around us.  Even the weight of it in our pocket is distracting.

This is definitely something that needs to be practiced when one has spent their whole life running in a million different directions!  However, if it allows me some extra brain power to not flood the house, or find milk in the pantry, then possibly it would be beneficial!  🙂





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