Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Reader's Digest (March 2009) ran an article, "7 Dumb Things We Do." Among the list was "When we multitask, we get stupid." Apparently, a study shows our working memory begins to forget things after two seconds: "Within 15 seconds of considering a new problem, you'll have forgotten the old problem. In some cases, the forgetting rate can be as high as 40 percent." And another "duh" study of employees showed they took, "on average, 15 minutes to get back to" serious tasks after being interrupted by something like emails.

And we had to spend money to find this out? Any mom could have pocketed that check with no hesitation because the outcome was so utterly obvious. Working from home is a blessing in that it allows me to stay with my children all day, and I know many people just wish they could work from home. But, the result is that my day is spent at warp speed as I maneuver from one task to another and back again in hopes that when 2:00 comes around, I can get a couple hours of downtime while the three of them (fingers crossed) nap together.

Case in point: this past Monday between the hours of 9 and 2, I simultaneously had my sink full of carrots I was washing, my food processor whirring as I shredded 24 cups and sliced another 24 cups of carrots to bag and freeze, my washer and drier taking care of 3 loads of clothes, my tea pot heating water to make humming bird food for the poor birds who kept zooming around outside, my computer speeding emails back to students, my children demanding food, attention, book readings, etc. at random intervals, and my oven baking strawberry bread to use up the strawberries I had mashed because it was "use them or lose them" time. That is NOT multitasking. That is insanity.

I think we need a new word: ultra-tasking. "Multi" just doesn't make what I do seem chaotic enough. "Multi" seems to imply I might could squeeze one more thing into my juggling act. On the other hand, "Ultra" seems to imply I'm at my max. Yep--I don't multitask; I ultratask.

Oh--I took a pic just for you all. Can you see that tooth? Yes, this mama let Emerson fuss while she ran to get her camera--how else was I going to get that mouth open for a picture?

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