Emotional Wellbeing

Struggling To Find Balance? Try Single-Tasking.

Create balance, find balance, be more balanced, balance is the key, balance balance balance….. If I hear balance one more time I’m going to scream! 

I have a theory that the concept of “balance” is creating more harm than good to the women of today. Most of the clients I see are seeking balance in their lives, they want to be a great Mum who is there whenever their kids need them and they want to find and live their passion, be a great wife/partner, feel excited and leave their mark on the world.

I’ve got news for you ladies – Balance doesn’t work!

I can’t possibly be balancing training, learning, writing, coaching, parenting, housekeeping, bookkeeping, spousing (is that a word?) without one, or usually all, falling in a heap.

My theory is that we would do more if we  focused solely on one task at a time, which I know is challenging some of you amazing multi-taskers out there, but it has truly saved my MIND.

I was a chronic multi-tasker, had a million balls in the air all at once meaning that I didn’t actually spend any 100% devoted quality time in my marriage, with my kids, in my business or for myself. I was half doing everything and feeling like I was achieving nothing.

I had heard the concept of doing one thing at a time from a few different mentors and through complete overwhelm and exhaustion, thought I better give it a go.

Life became very structured for a while; time scheduled in for work, play, kids etc. until I became more practiced at focusing on a single task and no longer had to follow a strict schedule. Like anything it takes about 21 days to create a habit. And, I first had to let go of my “ego” around being able to do everything!!

Not convinced? Here are some reasons why multi-tasking is not working for you:

  • It’s actually slowing you downYou think you’re getting more done but in fact its taking you longer to do every single task because there is no “flow”
  • You make more mistakes – Doing things in a rush, skimming over documents, forgetting that the kids have a shared lunch at school tomorrow and having to bake cupcakes at midnight….not cool!
  • It’s keeping you on high alert!This has all sorts of effect on your health, adrenal burnout, and hormone imbalance, inability to focus and relax.
  • You’re missing the rosesYou are so busy half doing the 10 never ending tasks that you miss the gorgeous rainbow in the rain, or the picture you’re daughter drew especially for you, or your partners attempts to connect with you throughout the day because you’re too busy.
  • You’re offending peopleHaving to take calls, check messages or not paying full attention when someone is talking to you is a common side effect of a multi tasker. It doesn’t make people feel good.
  • You’re not digesting your food wellYour body need to be in a relaxed state to be able to properly digest food, if you are “on” all the time, you will likely not be absorbing all the nutrients you need from you food. Stop and eat.
  • It teaches your children that are not as important as the job you’re doingeeek Harsh !! and of course sometimes the task you’re doing is more important than hearing about the latest ninja turtle adventure… but not all the time. Some “special time” set aside is a good way to combat this one.
  • You’re having to re-do tasksWith us being so time poor and needing to multitask all the time, the last thing we want to be doing is re-doing tasks!! It leads to feeling frustrated and angry. Aim to do the job well the first time.

So now that you know how crap you are as a multi tasker – what can you do about it?

  • Schedule more than just work time! Schedule in play time, you time, date time, time to re-connect.
  • Focus one thing at a time – sounds simple, but if it was we’d already be doing it. Use a timer to keep track of how much time you want to spend on any one thing. And Stick To It !!
  • Don’t eat in front of a screen.
  • Take a minimum of 5 minutes a day to sit in silence – It’s a fact that our ears, actually never turn off (even when we sleep) so our brains are constantly processing noises that we may not even notice. Silence is needed to restore and regenerate.
  • Set a timer to spend “Special time” with your child/ren. It can be as little as 5 minutes of doing whatever it is that they want to do with the understanding that you will be 100% present until the timer goes off. Let your children come to expect this special time and look forward to it regularly. (Give special time to 1 child at a time, others can join in, but the activity is led by 1 child. Take turns if you have more children)
  • Allow for the “fudge factor”. When allocating time to tasks, add an extra 10 – 20 minutes to your schedule. This has two benefits, 1. You never feel rushed, 2. You get it done right the first time and only have to do it once.
  • Outsource!! What are you doing that you could ask someone else to do? Get a cleaner, send the washing out, get a bookkeeper, hire a regular baby sitter or ask a friend to swap time. Find your team, your community and help each other out.

Single-tasking is something that takes practice, as opposed to multi-tasking which you will easily fall back into because it’s what you’re used to.

Do you think you could swap multi-tasking for single-tasking??

Avatar of Nicole Thomas

Nicky is a small business owner and mum of 3 who is an expert in empowering mums to put themselves first and function at their best so that their kids can have the best mum – the mum they deserve! Nicky has a diverse background including military service, psychology,health & fitness, and a fairly serious bout of post natal depression. She is an honest and down to earth coach who loves to laugh, learn and love.

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