MULTITASKING: FEW INTERESTING CASE STUDIES

It was a winter time when my beloved cousin sister hurried to the bathroom for taking bath and poured warm water on her body before mixing cold water in it… And guess what… She burnt her skin. Her mind was elsewhere…probably on a multitasking mode. As we know that there are tasks which don’t need our sole engrossment and our concentration can be divided. My sister knew that taking bath doesn’t need her soul engrossment though she forgot that her soul concentration was much needed before pouring down warm water on herself.  She had a tough time managing her wounds though we had so much fun discussing her absentmindedness.

Guess what? I just called her up right now and we had a laugh talking about the same incident all over again.

Let’s move on to the next cases…

It was a morning time and my wife was screaming at me, asking me to store water in the buckets before the water runs out. And I was about to get inside the bathroom when my aunt called me. I received the phone and kept talking to her while filling the water in the first bucket. I was fine till the water came to the brink of the bucket. I bent down to lift the bucket keeping my phone between my left shoulder and head. The handle of that bucket was broken and I had to lift it by using both my hands. As soon as I lifted the heavy bucket full of water, my second wife, my beloved Nokia E63 slipped out of my embrace and ‘plop’ drowned in the deep sea water… Oops, I mean in the bucket full of water.

I quickly rescued her, took off her clothes, applied resuscitation but to no avail. She went into a lifetime comma. I had to divorce her and claimed an alimony of Rs.500 from the bakra (scapegoat) that I handed her to.

I had loved her so much and regretted multitasking at her cost…. 😛

Many times I have climbed to the 4th floor leaving my office flat which was on the 3rd floor while chatting on WhatsApp or talking to someone on the phone. Many times I have thrown the tablets into the dustbin instead of the torn wrappers while my mind is occupied with my work on the computer.

Found them funny? Did you have a good laugh? Good! I wanted it too… 😉

So to speak I am not at all good at multi-tasking. I usually give up on one while doing the other. And when I am asked to multitask, I shout back literally or show my displeasure. When my wife requires my attention while the TV is on, I ask her either to switch off the TV to talk or let me watch…do just one thing at a time.

Rajnandini, offered some good advice this week as she usually does every time and most importantly she talked about how multitasking adds heavy loads on our shoulders like – Reduced effectiveness, Lowered productivity and performance levels, Increased stress, Disorganised and cluttered mind, In many cases, more time spent than saved. Don’t you think we should get rid of those loads before getting into troubles, either with the funny ones or the serious ones? Keep thinking about it.

In the end, I am happy to close this week by bringing smiles to your faces.

Stay blessed!

MULTI TASKING – IT’S NOT SUPER HEROISM!

She: Hi!

He: Hello Dear! What’s up?

She: Nothing…just feeling bored and alone. What are you up to?

He: Working on my presentation for tomorrow’s meeting.

She: Oops…Sorry, I am disturbing you!

He: No…no, it’s okay! I can manage it! I’m good at Multi-tasking!

She: Thank you for giving your time… you’re a superhero!

He: Mention not! You too are important to me!

Isn’t this our everyday story? Then what’s exceptional and notable!

The daily demands of our professional and personal life are so much that hardly we have time for anyone. In school we were taught about 10 to 5 is work hours and the evening is meant for socializing…but alas today socializing only exists on social media. Whereas, in reality, the human is a social animal. Everyone needs at least a little amount of time for someone to refresh life.

The Bible says,

“Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed”.

But the big question is HOW?

Often we treat people multitasking like him (‘He’ in the above chat) as, Superhero! And there is no doubt we all have at least one such person in our life whether we have discovered it or not! But what is extraordinary in their superheroism? Are they from some other planet? Are they gifted and we aren’t? If they can do multi-tasking then why can’t we?

One of the brightest minds in human history, Sir Albert Einstein said,

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.

Problems and Responsibilities in life are obvious and its journey only finishes in our grave! But that does not mean we will compass our life in I, Me & Mine. We all have problems and God often teaches and answers while we live for others. But DO WE LIVE FOR OTHERS?

The Bible says,

For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Being multi-tasking is spending time, energy, and concentration. Every second is eternal after a second comes another second but not the same one! Hence, when we share our time diverting our attention towards a person and do our work alongside, it is an Eternal Gift that we gift to someone. The biggest gift we can give to someone is time! But DO WE DO SO?

“Everything that is good demands some amount of Sacrifice”.

Undoubtedly, multi-tasking demands an awful lot of sacrifices and often we may not get rewarded with our expectations rather we get cat-calls. But do we need to compromise with our goodness just because someone goes wrong! THEN WHAT’S THE RETURN?   

The Bible says,

And do not forget to do good and to share with others,

for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

However, will we still configure “MULTI-TASKING as the Super Heroic work” and inbox the term by categorizing it to a certain amount of people? How long will we be confined to our I, Me & Mine World? A life lived with giving the value of time – love and care to others alongside accomplishing our tasks and responsibilities is a life worth living…

Keep thinking!

ARE YOU A MULTI-TASKER?

Are you a multitasker?

Let’s check it out!

Right now as you are reading this article, what else are you doing?

I guess some of you may be driving, some may be cradling your baby in your arms, some may be making your child do their homework, some may be in the kitchen standing by the gas stove – waiting for the milk to boil or the curry to cook and some may be alternating between typing an official report on another tab and reading this article. Well, if you find yourself in any of the above places, you are multitasking at the moment!

Doing two or more things at the same time makes one a multitasker.

Most of us wish we had an hour or two extra over and above the 24 hours at our disposal daily. Especially as people and events around us seem to move at such a fast pace in today’s advanced world, we are expected to match up to them all. In cities and towns, multitasking is the norm of the day – for the young and the old alike. In the rural countryside, things are better-paced with easy breathing space.

Multitasking helps one to accomplish many targets at the same time. Seems to be a great skill to acquire! Afterall, who doesn’t wish to complete maximum tasks in minimum time with still some time to spare!

WHAT REALLY HAPPENS WHEN WE MULTITASK?

Multitasking, in simple words, means switching tasks. When we switch to and from one task to the other, we exert pressure on our brain cells forcing them to function as per our requirement. Our brains are designed for organised human activity.

Have you ever faced a situation in which someone rang the doorbell and your land connected phone rang at the same time? Were you able to take the call and speak to the person on the other end and open the door thus attending to the person standing out there, at the same time? Probably not! You are likely to have responded to one thing, keeping the other waiting for a while.

There have been times in which you felt annoyed while speaking to your husband who said he was listening to what you are saying, but his eyes were on the television screen or the newspaper or his laptop/mobile. Similarly, men must have felt their bit of annoyance while their wives keep nodding at what they say but all the while shuttling between different tasks.

They key word here is attention. You feel the other person isn’t paying enough attention, even though s/he claims to be all ears to what you had been saying.

I think you can now very well understand why the traffic cops penalize people from driving and speaking on their cellphones at the same time! Our brain needs to focus on the road while driving. At the same time, when we force ourselves to think and formulate our responses to the person at the other end of the line while attending to a call, our attention gets fragmented. And so, a major chunk of accidents are reported to be caused while drivers were on their phones while driving their vehicles. Hence, make it a point to pull up by the roadside if you need to attend to a call or make a call and then resume driving. Be focussed. Be safe.

We can focus and primarily attend to only one thing at a time. And that helps us to accomplish tasks better, with increased effectiveness and high level of productivity. Neuroscience and psychological research studies have proved this over and over again.

The cognitive faculties meant for one task are split into two or more areas when one multitasks, thus rendering injustice to all the tasks involved. Multitasking ensures that all the tasks are completed, but not as well as they ought to have been.

Here are some baggages that come along with multitasking –

  • Reduced effectiveness
  • Lowered productivity and performance levels
  • Increased stress
  • Disorganised and cluttered mind
  • In many cases, more time spent than saved

Having talked about how we are mechanised to handle one work at a time, we cannot avoid the fact that many-a-times one really needs to multitask. Time management is the phrase to bear in mind.

  • Cut out on all the non-essential seemingly-important-but-not-so-important tasks from your schedule and fix them for another less occupied day.
  • Wake up earlier than you usually do (after ensuring your adequate amount of sleep time)
  • Delegate tasks to people around you
  • Don’t hesitate to seek help
  • Put your hands only in as many baskets as you can balance

Above all, seek strength from God to manage your daily affairs even as you do your bit to handle your chores to the best possible extent. Challenges beyond your means are inevitable. If you are a working adult with an ailing family member to care for while having to prepare breakfast and a three-four-item lunch and send your child to school – all within two to three hours in the morning, you know it all! Such circumstances require immense physical and psychological strength, despite all the pre-preparation and planning that you do. And so, the Great Designer promises to hold your hand and aid you in the multiple chores of your everyday life as you entrust your day into His hands.

WHAT MOTHERHOOD TAUGHT ME ABOUT TIME

I need to make time for working out.

You should make time for the kids.”

He needs to make time for his check-ups.

These are just random sentences, from everyday lives, but notice how they all use the phrase ‘make time’. How do you think this phrase originated? I mean come to think of it, you can’t make time. It’s there already, right? Did the English make a mistake? Remember how Amitabh Bachaan says in the movie Namak Halal, “English is a fun-ny language”? Not really. There is a lot of wisdom in that phrase.

Why we say ‘make time’ is because, even though time itself is infinite, we have only a finite amount of time to do everything that we want to do; we have to fit it all in those few minutes, hours, months or years that we have. Making time means shifting around your finite amount of time, to make space for that something that you have been sitting on. Ultimately, it’s upto you to manipulate your time to find the time to do something.

These days everyone is busy. We have jobs, bills to pay, our homes to look after, families to tend to, and social events to attend. Getting a breather is difficult and we’re often even working on vacations and on days off. We are so busy that we don’t have time to call, pay visits, celebrate festivals or events with those who matter to us. We just text them  or WhatsApp them and tell ourselves, ‘That should do. They’ll understand because I’m busy’.

But are we busy? Or are we hiding our laziness behind our ‘busyness’?

Do we really have no time to spare, no time to ‘make’ for things that we want or ought to do?

 

Why am I patronizing? I’m no less.

When I was working full time at a law firm, I used to think that I was the busiest person on the planet. I had no time for anything at all. No time to meet friends or family, no time to care for my health, no time to indulge in my hobbies, no time to prepare for my CS exams. I would always cry, ‘I have no time!’ Yet, I would find time to watch the latest flicks, chit-chat non-stop with my homies or go our on shopping sprees with my besties.

Then I got married and suddenly, even though I wasn’t working anymore, I was busier than before. Boy, those late nights watching reruns of shows or Whatsapping friends over the phone, were history. Chores at home won’t end. One would finish and the other would line up for my attention, and by night time, I would be dead tired. But then I enrolled for Masters in Law. And then everything went for a toss! Days blurred into each other as I tried to cope up with the syllabus and the truck-loads of assignments. My family used to complain how they never got to hear from me for days on end. But even then, I would find time to hang out with friends, go out, work out, what not. I hope by now, you’ve noticed something.

But motherhood changed everything!

Time is elastic. When you’re a parent, suddenly you’ll feel like time is flying by and you have no control over your own life. And yet there are moments, like when you’re trying to put your child to sleep, or in my case, when you’re trying to make her eat, you’ll feel like time has come to a standstill. There were days when I had no time to brush my teeth, take a bath or even change my clothes! Everything took a backseat and the one thing I was giving all my time to was my baby. Eventually the baby grew a little self-dependent, but I still found myself struggling with time. Then came a knee injury which finally put things into perspective for me.

I realized that I need to ‘make time’ for doing all that I want to do – like getting a job, or working out to keep myself in sound health. I realized that my excuse of not having time was just a farce for hiding my laziness. I also realized that if I carried on this way, I’d have a lifetime of regrets of never being able to do what I want. That’s when I started working as a freelancer, started my blog, picked up all those hobbies that I’d left behind, reconnected with friends and family that I hadn’t spoken to or seen since forever. In short, I started managing my time so I could ‘make time’ for all that I wanted to do.

I realized that time management comes from constant practice, trial and error, but most importantly, from trying.

The two most important lessons that Motherhood taught me are –

  • While you care for someone, you must care for yourself too.
  • No one will give you free time; you must make it for yourself.

Two years down the line, I’m happy to tell you that I’m a happier person. It doesn’t matter whether my job is working out for me or not, or that my blogging or hobbies are going unnoticed, or that I don’t get to see friends for more than a few hours every once in a few months. But it matters to me that I’m doing all of this while not sacrificing my duties as a mother or as a wife. I’m not giving myself the excuse ‘I’m busy’ anymore. I’m keeping busy in the real sense of the term.

To optimize the use of your time, you have to prioritize and compartmentalize your time so that you can squeeze the most from the very last second of your day. Read a book while you’re putting your child to bed, or call a friend while you’re taking that train to work. If you keep telling yourself that you don’t have time, or keep turning down opportunities on the pretext of ‘being busy’, then you’ll never get anything done, not even your jobs, because there will always be a part of you aching to do something else.

Being busy does not just mean working at a desk job. You can be busy being a parent, or busy being a student, or even as a couch potato. But being busy doing just that one thing, is a waste of a lifetime, because life has so much to offer.

So ‘make time’ for all that you’ve wanted to do – be an artist, a dancer, a photographer, a tourist or just spend time with those you love and want to connect with. Call instead of texting. Meet instead of calling. But don’t hide behind the excuse that you’re busy.

You have just one life. Make the most of it.

 

Pradita Kapahi