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Well, it can actually be a little of both. Sometimes multitasking is simple and very successful. Other times it can cause too much distraction, leading to tasks half done, not done at all, or so poorly done you have to do them over again! With so much to do, it is hard to get everything done without multitasking. But some of the things we try to get done are not really necessary. Do you have to reply instantly to a text? Does your bathroom really need to be cleaned while you are cooking dinner? So how can you figure out when to multitask and when to focus on one task?
1. Safety: Are any of the tasks you need to do potentially dangerous if left alone, or half done? For example, cooking something on the stove top while cleaning in another room - not a good idea. If there is something that is potentially dangerous if left unattended it is best not to multitask.
2. Importance Of Finished Product. Is your finished product going to be graded, determine your bonus at work, or be seen by many? If so, focus on this task. Distraction will only make your efforts appear as if you were distracted. If the finished product is your sink getting clean, no big deal to multi-task.
3. Is It A One Shot Deal? Are you writing addresses on envelopes and you only have the exact number of envelopes? FOCUS. If you are addressing envelopes and you have 20 extra - go ahead and multitask.
4. Can You Kill Two Birds With One Stone? Some things are actually better when done with other things. For example, watching your tivo-ed television shows while doing squats. Not only are you enjoying your shows, but also you are saving time in your day but squeezing in your workout! And there is no guilt for watching television if you are exercising at the same time!
5. Is This Your De-Stressing Time? Do you exercise to de-stress? Then keep exercise stress free. Don't try to read up on your work during your time on the stationary bike. Keep your time to de-stress simply that. If you don't you will only be bitter that you aren’t getting the time to yourself that you deserve.
6. Will It Affect Someone Who Needs You? Don't multitask while listening to your kids, partner, or a friend or family member in need. Sometimes multitasking is tempting while you are listening to someone tell you their latest woes, but if it is someone who really needs a shoulder, be present for that person.
Slow down. Life doesn't have to be a multitasking mess. Do one thing at a time and pay attention. Eating while driving, talking on your cell phone while walking the dogs - it takes away from thing we should enjoy. Eating should be done in a calm setting without too much distraction. Enjoy and taste your food. Going for a walk with the dogs can be fun if you view the world through their eyes. One task at a time may make you more appreciative and more relaxed!