Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reality Check for a Multitasking Lunatic

We had this saying in college –
MIT: Work. Play. Sleep. Pick Two.
Ah, the self-deprecating humor of overachievers...

I always loved this because it captured the dilemma of an engineering school life overflowing with demands. Can you guess which two I picked?

Almost 15 years later, my list looks like this –
Work. Create. Play. Sleep. Pick Three.
Because doing all four is utterly impossible. “Work” is a 40-hour a week day job. “Create” encompasses the multi-faced acting / writing / producing / directing career I’m attempting to develop and move forward. “Sleep” includes all the aspects of self-care – doing laundry, getting the oil changed in my car, buying groceries. “Play” ends up being stolen moments with my DVR after midnight or a meal with a friend I really want to see more often. I have no idea where a relationship would fit in. Or exercise. What’s a champion multitasker to do?

Stop multitasking.

Up until now, I’ve just been going going going. Doing a million things from day until night, juggling as best I can. If you read my Writer’s Diet Experiment blog posts, you’ll see just how much I can pack into each waking hour. And even though I’ve been doing a million things at a time, I’ve constantly felt guilty about the million other things I haven’t had time to do.

The most pathetic thing is that I took pride in my on-the-go lifestyle. I had 24 different windows open on my work computer the other day and I finished everything by quitting time. I’m invincible, right?

Wrong. Two things happened this past weekend that changed everything. One, a friend pointed out that I’ve been saying troubling things like, “I need to stop sleeping so much.” Two, I discovered my blood pressure was 137/98.

I’m multitasking myself right out of my life! It’s all about your health, and if my health is suffering because of my frickin’ to do list, it’s time to do less.

So...I’m slowing down. No more hyper-multitasking. One thing at a time. What a concept.

The hardest thing is going to be letting go of my overachieving paradigm that tells me doing more is better. After all, overachieving has gotten me this far. (I was in 10 or 12 clubs & activities in high school – my blood pressure must have been astronomical!)

But sometimes less really is more. Let’s hope I’m slowing down in time...


  1. Good luck with finding what you need, T! A similar post recently from someone else on doing too much: http://www.femmerotic.com/journal/2011/07/06/leaving-the-last-ear-for-someone-else/

    Trina G.

  2. "...I took pride in my on-the-go lifestyle." *sigh* That is me right now...I really need to learn to stop and smell the roses.

  3. It is definitely important to make your health a priority, even though it's easy to put it off...

    I've slowed WAY-DOWN (in my opinion), due on a large part to Craig's influence. The kids make you slow down on some areas and more busy in others, so I'm not sure if it's a wash or net gain....

    However, what you trade for over-achieving is the guilt of under-achieving... I guess it's another "pick one" situation. ;) Pick one?!

    Take care of yourself and good luck!!

    Hugs, Alice :)

  4. Thanks Alice! I didn't even address the guilt of under-achieving - so true for overachievers like me! :)