the madness of multitasking

This is never something I thought I would say out loud, never mind broadcast it to the wide world via my blog. But here it is, folks, write it down: I have discovered that I don’t like multitasking.

Bogus, right? Let’s think about this. Where is the #1 place you see the words “ability to multitask,” “must be able to multitask“? Job posts, that’s where. All of those potential employers work long and hard on their wish lists for the almighty position description and each one wants you to be able to juggle projects, people and paperclips like a street performer. Here’s the funny thing – this used to reign supreme in my cover letters and job applications. I worked in a fast-paced, higher education institution for four years and multitasked with the best of them. I had to, if I wanted to survive.

In fact, in my former life I used to THRIVE on fast-paced, highly charged situations. Out of necessity? Yes. Did I want to live this way? I think so. I have always said I prefer being busy, rather than idle. This is still true today, I haven’t totally shed my American ways. But here are some of the ways that multitasking is really flipping me out:

1. driving. I love driving. I love my car. I don’t love traffic. I don’t love other drivers. I have had some moments in the last few weeks where I have been in complete disbelief about the drivers around me. Everyone is in a big, fat hurry and they’re all on their cell phones. For the love of the road people, focus. I don’t care who you are, you’re probably not that important. If you are, get a damn chauffeur. See #2.

photo credit: davesblogcentral.com

2. cell phones. A new addition to my automotive world is the big red stop sign car magnet that reads: STOP TEXTING. Here’s what I recently discovered and confirmed: talking on your cell phone is NOT illegal in Pennsylvania. Fact! A year ago I would absolutely be guilty of this, but now that I am not using a cell phone I am fully conscious of how often I used to reach for my phone while driving. What an idiot!  I’ll be the car driving in between the painted lines, at the prescribed speed, without my phone in my ear, dodging everyone else.

On a local note, I’d like to applaud the Lehigh Valley Health Network for their recent collaboration with Coca-Cola to get the Stop Texting sign on 20 of our local trucks in the area. Do I think it will solve the problem? No, but I thank you for efforts. Now build us a railway system!

3. eating. The average duration of a meal in the country of Spain is approximately 3 to 4 hours (or 12, if it’s a first communion). How many times have I watched tourists freak out about their waiter ignoring them or having to wait an extra 30 minutes for their check? Where’s the fire? This is Spain – we don’t rush anywhere unless it’s to 100 Montaditos on a Wednesday or to the stadium for a fútbol match. And our waiters don’t work for tips. Sabes? Once you get over the initial panic you might realize there IS no rush. Enjoy your glass of wine, eat a bit slower and actually taste your food. Just don’t try it in America. I have no problem with the To Go culture, but I’ve learned to say no to To Go. Coffee tastes so much better when you’re standing still.

I appear to be a bit more patient, more conscious of my surroundings and a lot happier when I can focus on one thing at a time. Don’t all of these things deserve my undivided attention? Don’t you?

2 thoughts on “the madness of multitasking

  1. Great post – driving especially has been really weird for me – I’m not comfortable going 65 mph at night on the freeway just yet – I feel like I’m back to where I was before I got my license haha

  2. Just saw this but I love this post Kelly. I wish we would slow down we enjoy things so much more. Sadly, with our culture such as it is I don’t know that it will happen in the near future. I also used to try to do 10 things at once but have discovered, perhaps because I am getting old, it is a lot harder to do. Learning to relax would be a good thing – my 7 and 11 year old do a great job of it – lol D

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