As a caregiver for your family or loved ones, we are always trying to do something for everyone. New requests get added on to your plate daily. We try to do it all -work obligations, tend to family needs, participate in community and church activities, and field requests from neighbors and friends. You get asked, “How come I haven’t heard from you?” –Maybe it’s because I’m just tired!! I wear so many hats and have so much to do constantly that I’m often working in some capacity up until bedtime. I’m discovering a new thing- the power of saying no to requests that are not in alignment to what’s really important and needs my attention right now. Doing this will allow me to slow down, prioritize and identify how I can be less stressed. But.. how did I get there? Good question! Let’s start with what is multitasking and why do we multitask?
What is multitasking?
To multitask is usually when one person attempts to perform two or more tasks simultaneously. I say “attempt” because we usually don’t or can’t successfully do more than one thing at time. What we actually do is task switching where we continually start multiple things giving the impression that we are doing them at the same time. Also, today society, the workplace, and other external pressures place importance on getting more things done faster so we are more prone to try to do more to keep up with everyone else.
Why do we try to multitask? It all breaks down to expectations.
- Family expectations: I must do this because everyone else in the family has done it too.
- Societal Expectations: We want to be like everyone else.
- We don’t want to be perceived as lazy, so we take on things that we sometimes just can’t handle.
- We want to feel accomplished so we try to do it all.
How do we end up feeling when trying to multitask?
- Tired & exhausted.
What would happen if we just stopped trying to multitask?
- We may have more peace of mind.
- We may actually complete things instead of leaving multiple unfinished projects and tasks.
- We’ll feel happier.
What steps do we need to take right now?
- Make a list and check it twice. We’ve got to find out whether you’ve been naughty or nice! ( Just kidding – I wanted to see if you were paying attention!!!)
- Do a brain dump. – Sit down for 10 – 15 minutes and just write all of your thoughts and tasks and what you need to do or have finished.
- Pick out the most pressing items that need to be done and highlight them.
- Pick 1 item and get started!
- Say no to too many commitments. – Over committing yourself can be exhausting – it’s ok to say no.
- Ask yourself – Is this the best use of my time, energy, and resources? – If you can answer yes to all 3 then proceed. If not revisit for a later time or not at all.
- Go back to your brain dump list and pick out things that you really want to do and carve out some time to do them throughout the week. Pick no more than 3 and then just relax. Smaller bites will equal more things getting done under less stress and in a timelier fashion.
So this is what I’m committed to doing – saying no, doing brain dumps, and picking 1-3 things to do over the course of a week. Try it! Let me know if you find it helps you at all.