I had stopped at a set of traffic lights on my way to do school and preschool drop off. There were three of us heading the traffic and I was in the middle lane. I looked to my left to find a girl racing to put on her mascara and lipstick. To my right was a young teenaged P-plater with her windows down, music blasting and laughing at something funny on her phone hidden in her lap. For me, this was my chance to spend the next two minutes wiping Franklin's face covered in breakfast, helping Eva tie her shoe laces while calling out Jack's spelling words to practice for his test. The light went green. Make up girl zoomed off with an eagerness to get to work while P-plater girl thought she was in a race (as you do when you think you are a pro driver) and sped off to resume first position. A couple of beeps and a stare through my mirror to say 'I'm going' while chucking my car back into gear and I was finally off. Three jobs down at one single traffic light.... tick, tick, tick.
I feel like us girls are generally hard wired for multitasking but sometimes the amount of what we need to do can get a little overwhelming. In this instance we either do it all but terribly or putting us in the worst mood, otherwise known as stress, or look at it, think it's too hard, so don't do any of it.
I have just signed up to study a two year certificate in Proofreading and Editing to branch my writing career and business, go me or I'm insane! I sat with my books spread across the table, pencil and notebook ready but with a list of all the 'mum and house' jobs I also needed to get done. I read the same paragraph three times and my head kept constantly drifting to the errands I couldn't forget and the distraction of my kids asking for something like if we could get a new pet. I kept telling my kids to go away and then felt bad because this was the whole point of my doing this so I could stay at home and 'play or spend time' with my kids. I was failing at both, getting frustrated by everything and angry at myself. This was too much and I was in way over my head. Or was I?
Closing everything back up, I made myself a coffee, grabbed a piece of chocolate (may have been a block) and went outside to clear my head. I needed to multitask because there was nothing that I could stop. My kids had to be taken to school and preschool... and picked up again. Dinner needed to be cooked, and my house, well, generally clean, you know the bits you can't stand untidy. For me it's my benches and lounge room. I don't necessarily clean my lounge room, I just pick up the toys and chuck them in the toy room next door. My washing didn't wash itself and no one could do my assignments for me. I needed a plan.
I made myself a weekly diary and was specific about what I was going to do that day. The unimportant stuff (like cleaning) was written last because if I didn't get to it, I could move it to the next day.... or the next (you get my drift). So how does multitasking fit into this? Well there are some things that you can group together and do pretty much at the same time. Like chatting to your mum on the phone while changing your bubs nappy! Making kids sandwiches for the whole week and putting them into the freezer, while cutting up fruit for snacks and making dinner. Helping your child do homework while catching up on emails or drawing with your other kids. Listening to your child read while hanging up the washing. Washing, tick. Reader read, tick.
Now some may read this and think this is so not me. It wasn't me either. I am such a routined, structured person that my brain really struggled with two things at once. I felt like Cam was almost better at it than I was but it just took a little practice and I think the longer into being a mum I was, the better I got at it. Now with Jack at school I have that annoying 9-3 time frame and because I have to factor in homework, after school activities like swimming lessons and getting dinner cooked, I do all my other jobs, study and blogging for the middle of the day when Franklin is napping and Eva is happily playing or watching a movie. When do I get time for me? Well that it was that lovely time of 7pm is when I say goodnight to my cherubs! You also might be lucky enough to not be at this point yet, but I say read and take on the tips because you will one day!
Give it a go this week and watch your jobs feel like they have been cut in half and your time double! Genius right? If you are like me and still mastering the multitasking skill, then write it down. I get so much satisfaction ticking off a list!
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