Multitasking: The Dis-EASE of Today
And so we find ourselves in the age of multitasking. Where we are required to gracefully juggle as many balls in the air as humanly possible and make it look seamless…
“Oh, she’s a great multitasker.”
“It’s so impressive how she's managing the juggle of it all.”
“How does she do it?”
Well, actually. She doesn’t. She doesn’t do it. She has chronic fatigue, or autoimmune disease, or suffers from anxiety, or depression, or can’t get pregnant, or takes 689 different supplements racking up a little $938 monthly bill at the local health food store because she CAN’T. ACTUALLY. DO IT.
It’s really not something to aspire to. It’s madness, people. We are aspiring to madness.
We’re so used to having several tabs open in our lives – on our computer screens, IPads, IPhones, tablets, and WE KNOW it drains their battery life. We know that! But god forbid we close one…I mean… WHAT IF WE NEED THEM OPEN AGAIN IN FIVE MINUTES…OR FIVE HOURS…OR FIVE YEARS.
So we keep our tabs open on our screens -and in our lives. We keep them open in our relationships, at home, in our work, in every moment of our day. And we drain our battery. And we wonder why we are tired- ALL THE TIME.
We do it in relationships- We Tinder and Bumble and juggle several suitors at once. When we’re in long term relationships or even married, we “chat harmlessly” to ex’s from our past, because…well… now we are only a click away. Remember Fred who you dated for like five minutes in 1992? Well, now Fred can now find, and contact you, in a matter of seconds. In the past you probably wouldn’t have heard from Fred again. Unless he got all “There’s Something About Mary” on your ass. But now…I dated someone once who was “chatting” (flirting) “harmlessly” to several (like double digits) women online, after we’d been together for a year, and he claimed he “just needed the validation”. He needed those tabs open. All the time. Because we are all conditioned to keep those tabs open. All the frickin’ time. The website Divorcify says: According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, over 80% of U.S. divorce attorneys have witnessed a rise in the number of divorces linked to social networking. Your Honour, I rest my case.
We do it at work- we’re physically present, sure. But we’re checking Flatmate Finders and Facebook and running our online business and getting ready to drive our Uber shift later- while we’re there. We’re crying in the toilet because we missed our kid’s first steps, but Sue from day care didn’t, and she kindly sent us photo of the milestone moment we will never get to witness. We’re looking at tripadvisor, planning our next one or two weeks of happiness admist a life of distraction and restlessness. We’re here, we really are, but we’re also miles away.
We do it in our daily life- don’t tell me you haven’t had to stop yourself taking your phone into the toilet at least ONCE in your life. I mean- it’s a toilet, people! It’s for one thing. It’s NOT for playing “Words With Friends”.
We do it in our cars- In NSW alone, over 39,000 people are fined every year for using their phones while driving- and the number rises each year. A study by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that risk of an accident increases: six-fold when texting and twelve-fold when dialing. And I think we kinda know this. Deep down. We know it’s dangerous. And yet- we still JUST CAN’T WAIT TIL WE GET OUT OF THE CAR TO CHECK OUR INSTA.
We masterfully keep one eye open when we sleep, and take melatonin and sleepy tea and all manner of natural (and non-natural) drugs to manage our inability to “switch off” at night.
Because our internal tabs are open. All the time.
And we just don’t know how to close them anymore. Unless our system crashes and we burn out or get sick. And we’re forced to stop. And we have to reboot. Or get new software or hardware.
We have so much energy and so many seconds available to us in this very precious lifetime. None of us know how many. And yet- we are directing it in five million different directions in every given moment. Most of the time, we are not even conscious of where that energy and attention goes. It gets hijacked by so many things, people, events, all vying for our precious attention.
How on earth can we ever know who we want to walk through this precious life with- if we don’t direct our attention to them completely at least for a period of time? How can we survive the inevitable challenges and temptations of a long term intimate relationship, if our romantic attention isn’t directed towards the one we love? How can we know how our family, our friends, our loved ones really are, if we can’t be with them fully and completely when we are in their presence? How can we know our dharma, our purpose on this earth if we spend our time dulling our senses through whatever means available- drugs, alcohol, Netflix, chocolate?
The first step is to notice where our precious energy is actually going.
To whom and what to you give your time and attention?
Who hijacks your energy? And more importantly- why do you let them?
Where do you want your energy to go? So reclaim it and start sending it there!
Because multitasking is not making our lives EASier. It’s a disEASE. It brings dis-EASE with WHAT IS in the present moment. It keeps us tired and restless and powerless and distracted.
The more we notice where our attention is going, the more we consciously direct it in one place at a time- the more EASE we experience in our lives.
Ultimately it’s up to us.
The ball(s) is (are) in our court.
We can keep the tabs open all the time.
Or we can close them.
Focus on one at a time.
And save that precious battery life.