If that feeling of being frazzled all the time has you feeling flustered, confused, and just plain tired of trying, I have an idea for you: stop doing everything all at once.
As hard as it is to draw boundaries around different aspects of my life, I find myself most relaxed and—dare I say it—happiest when I am doing one thing at a time. The concept of monotasking is not well received in our Do It All And Do It All Right Now society, but I’m working to change that.
I am at my best when I am doing one thing at a time. I can pay attention. I can get things finished. Heck, I can even get things finished with excellent quality when I just sit down and do them. Isn’t that a great goal to have?
Monotasking is especially difficult to live in practice for people who work at home. We are constantly being pulled to do one more thing, check our email really quickly, or jot something down. Then there’s the laundry that could be folded, the food for dinner that could be prepped, or the thing your kid left at home that you could just run up to the school really quickly.
Blocking my time—much like calendaring my workouts—has become the core of my work-at-home mom practice. I have set times of day that I do specific business tasks, a set time of day when I do not work at all, and a little bit of catch-all time. There are also clear blocks of time for rest—I nap with my two year old four days each week—and exercise time for physical and mental rejuvenation each day.
As with most things in life, having clear boundaries makes me comfortable and confident in what I am doing. The best part about monotasking is that I am fully present with whatever or whomever I’m working. This is not only important for increasing productivity with my work, but I am a more present and quality parent to my kids as well. Work time is work time and mom time is mom time. It’s not what most people think of when they say work-life balance– that’s a juggler, right?–but it is really working for me.
I am in the midst of a growth period for Balance Personal Fitness Training (details soon, I promise!), and I simply would not be able to juggle my regular clients, my two new big projects, and my family life if I were doing it all at once. Sure, all of these parts of my work and life are always all on my mind, but when I monotask with my full attention, my productivity is greater—and more authentic.
If I haven’t convinced you to give monotasking a try, check out what the Harvard Business Review has to say about focus and productivity.
Good health and great happiness to you.