We live in a society where to do as much as we can in the shortest amount of time is glorified. To always appear busy is a sign of success… The person that professes to being super busy all of the time is looked upon as a go getter, they are in control and handling business. They rarely go out to eat lunch but instead opp to sit at their desks (if they are fortunate to have a desk) and scarf down whatever they can, usually something unhealthy, in ten to fifteen minutes while they try to chisel through their ever growing mountain of assignments.
On the other hand, society tends to look down on people who take a more laid back approach to life… Those who prefer to do one thing at a time. People that like to take a determined amount of time to finish one task at a time instead of jumping back and forth from one thing to the next is at times seen as lacking ambition, not a hard worker and sometimes even lazy.
Even our children’s schedules are so overbooked they seem to forget that some of the activities they are involved in are supposed to be fun. School and learning new ideas and ways of thinking should be fun for children! But where’s the fun when a teacher (who is most likely being pressured to get as many subjects and test in as she/he can in a weeks time) is rushing every child along at the same pace? Most extra curricular activities like art, music and even outdoor recess has been taken out of schools or so limited that they may as well not exist. The one size fits all approach to learning often places children who learn in a different way at risk of missing out. Everyone shouldn’t be expected to learn at the same pace.
Some employers, for what ever reasons, insist on adding more and more projects for their employees to be completed during work hours. Before an employee can finish one task, three more are placed in front of them. Depending on the workplace, (e.g. retail) sometimes these employees are dealing with coworkers and customers while trying to finish their own designated tasks… small wonder why people are physically and mentally stressed to the breaking point! And business owners are left to wonder why moral is low, people call in sick and productivity is slacking off… REALLY?
Of course you are not being paid to sit, doodle in a notepad and daydream on your employees dime! Employers have their own crazy deadlines and quotas to meet. So what’s wrong with taking a break? Most employees fear for their jobs and risk their emotional stability when made to feel they have to be “productive” at all costs and to never let anyone see them sitting down just doing “nothing”.
And at the end of the workday the multitasking mania continues. We risk our lives and the lives of others by talking or texting on our phones as we drive through traffic. Underground we race through crowds on narrow platforms with our headphones on or earbuds in to jump on packed subways and run in front of cars trying to catch the bus before it speeds off.
We mindlessly and dangerously cross the street while reading some “Breaking News!’ on our cell phones and then stop to pick up dinner at the grocery store. Still on our phones, we zigzag through each aisle throwing what’s ever quickest to prepare in our carts. And finally make it to the checkout all the while still rudely having a loud conversation on our cell phone while searching our bags and pockets for our money or credit cards.
Finally… miraculously we make it home in one piece. We sit down in front of the television with our plates full of quickly prepared processed food, turn on Netflix, Hulu, YouTube etc… and check our Instagram and Facebook feeds and shop Amazon all at the same time.
But why is that… Why are we running around feeling the need to multitask even outside of work… trying to stuff even more into our already over stuffed lives?
We have gotten so caught up in our technological world, especially social media. The need to know how many likes, friends, comments and photos we’ve gotten since that last ten minutes we checked is instant gratification… a quick but fake escapism from our overstretched reality. With just one tap of a key, click of a link or slide of a screen we are transported to yet another stressful dimension… It’s stressful because it’s never enough. The likes, followers and virtual friends just never come fast enough to satisfy our need for right now.
Well, ironically… I say life is too damn short! Enough already!
Of course we need jobs and we do need to be productive members of society. The economy doesn’t work if everyone decides to stop and take vacation all at the same time… Right? We can’t all quit our jobs. Last week when I went to the grocery store we were still using currency in this society. And technology isn’t going anywhere either… I know this because I just read it on Google.
But there has got to be a balance. There has got to be time to just BE without fear of being looked upon as lazy, unproductive, unambitious slackers, irrelevant nobodies who are out of the loop, or just plain crazy.
We’ve got to find our own personal balance between our outside reality… the one that keeps our material world going and our other very true (and what I feel is our most important) reality. Our internal creative reality is that part of us that longs to do the things we are meant to do opposed to those things we have to do to survive in this made up society. We risk losing our creative selves when we focus too much of our time juggling the demands of what is outside of us.
“The science is unequivocal about multitasking: it’s bad for attention, memory, productivity, creativity, and happiness. We need to take matters into our own hands, and we can start by making small modifications in our day-to-day habits. Monotasking takes motivation, dedication, and continual practice, but the benefits are significant. Let’s reclaim our lives!”
– Nicola Brown, owner and principal of communication consultancy Think Forward Communication, and Editor-in-Chief at AnewTraveller.com.
You can read more of Nicola Brown’s very interesting article and tips how you can become less of a multitasker and more monotasker at the link above.
Until next time Be Well!