How to Stop Multitasking and Live in the Moment
I excel at multitasking, like I could win a few awards for it. I bet you could too. I think I spent a decade becoming a multitasking guru. I got a lot done. I really did. This talent enabled me to do well at work in leadership, gaining the trust of peers and superiors because I was known for getting shit done.
Then I had a moment of awakening. At least half of the stuff I was doing was meaningless, time and energy wasting crap. Most of the tasks I was doing at work had zero real purpose behind doing them – they were just time fillers. As someone who highly valued my time and energy this pissed me off. I’d rather work half the hours, get paid the same and then still have those remaining hours to do what I want (like being actually productive). Nothing ticks me off like leadership teams that believe in thumb twiddling activities. Save the money and cut your staff in half and pay them a little more.
As I left the traditional work world and began building my own business and purpose driven career, things began to shift. I no longer wanted to be in a state of hurry and worry. I wanted to be sure what I was doing and creating would be built on a solid foundation. I wanted my work to have real meaning and value. I wanted really live in the moment while creating and working in my business. I wanted to enjoy every second of that feeling of being ALIVE!
That is exactly what I discovered when I stopped trying to multitask as much as I could. I finally started to LIVE. Instead of feeling completely exhausted from doing so much (and well) at my old job, now I was feeling rejuvenated, energized and content while doing my work.
I built my business on my own, with my toddlers under foot – so I found myself slowing down and creating and taking things moment by moment with my work, yet I was still power multitasking with my household duties so I could have as much time as possible for my work. This carried on until my kids began school and my time with them became limited.
I am one for applying what you learn and do well in one area of life into every area of life. Thus, I began to slow down with my kids and that time became filled with lots of little moments of pure joy. Yet, I was still scurrying with my housework.
And then I finally had that AHAH moment we all really need, it was a life changing pivotal moment.
I realized this was my life and I didn’t have to live it according to anyone else’s rules. I reset my values, my beliefs, and vastly improved my approach to life.
I cut out all the BS from my life. No joke. I developed a zero-tolerance policy for BS. Anyone and anything that no longer lined up with my values or that was a soul sucking, energy draining vampire got kicked out of my life. I went through my social media, my email contacts and gave them a clean slate. I cleaned out my house and purged, got rid of the clutter, reduced the 5,000 piece toys to a minimum, and made more time for me. I required (okay encouraged) my family to do their share in running our household.
If things didn’t have real value and purpose, then it got eliminated.
What came of this was pure energy and freedom! I could finally breathe!
Here are some examples of how I now live my life, a life that is filled with joy, peace, energy, passion and purpose, a life that is nicely balanced between work, family, rest and play. If you are a multitasking guru, try these tips for slowing down and living more in the moment.
Tip #1 Stop
Before you can begin to live life in the moment and take things one at a time, you have to actually stop. You need to just stop. This may be taking a day, a week or longer to just do nothing. You can’t find a balance when you’ve been living at one extreme and have never experienced anything on the other end of the spectrum.
Give yourself a break, put your feet up and stop multitasking. You can do this for at least one day. Schedule it in if you have to.
Tip #2 Evaluate
If you want to create change in anything you have to get a clear idea of who and where you really are. No lying or making up excuses or blaming. I encourage you to write down a list of things that must change and a list of things for how you’d like your daily life to be. Then order each list. Make your first thing to change something that will create significant positive changes for you.
Tip #3 Begin
Pick your first thing to reduce/eliminate in your life and your first item to incorporate more of and begin. Do what you can, allow yourself to start slowly. Try to do this a little every day until it becomes set in your ways. Then move on to the next item on each list.
Tip #4 Evaluate Deeper
We take on a lot of ridiculous ways for living over the years and now you get to clean out your value house. Write down what your values are and what you believe to be important. Then really question yourself like a badger to see if those values and beliefs are true or if you just acquired them from others.
Think about how you want your daily life to be and feel. Do any of your values need to change to reflect the positive changes you want in your life? Be willing to let go and embrace new values and ways of going about things. You became a multitasking addict because of all the things you add to your must do/be beliefs.
Tip #5 Purge
The first place to start purging junk and soul sucking from your life is with your living and work environment – with physical objects. Grab a trash bag and start throwing crap out. If nobody has used it in the last few months let it go. Start singing Frozen’s “Let it Go” as many times as necessary to get it through your head that the more stuff you have the more business you’ll be doing keeping it picked up and put away.
Anything that doesn’t make you feed good goes into the trash/donate pile. Ugly decorations, things that have an inch of dust on them, plants that are barely alive, stacks of paper (seriously you don’t need anything in that stack, if you did it wouldn’t be in that heap).
Clean out your environments. Do this at work too. Get boxes and anything (I mean it!) that hasn’t been touched recently is off your desk, out of drawers and out of your office. If your boss believes you need to keep any of that shit, take them the box and tell them to store it in their office if they want it. (Feel free to share this with them, they may learn a few things.)
Go on a crazy cleaning streak and when you get done, you’ll likely have half the amount of cleaning to do on a regular basis.
Tip #6 Purge Where It Really Counts
This one isn’t as easy as throwing stuff in a trash can. Start small and work your way to the tough ones.
We are, and I mean we really are like the people we spend the most amount of time with. You hear this a lot with finances and health. You will never be any wealthier than the 5 people you spend the most time with. If one of those 5 is much wealthier than the other 4 it is because they have a different circle than the 4 of you that they spend more time with. Truth.
Same with our health. If we are overweight and out of shape, and so are our closest family and friends, guess what, our health will never be that great.
This applies to our life in each category and as a whole. Go back to the values you wrote down about the life you want to be living. Does your ‘circle’ share the same values? If not, time to make some changes with who you often hang out with.
We can love people well from a safe distance! We have this one life to live and it just that – ours! There is no reason or justification whatsoever for you holding yourself back from the life you want to be living. We are each at our own level and pace in life, as we begin to evolve, some people will get let go and new people will enter our life. There is nothing wrong, or bad or sad about this, it is just life. If you embrace this, your energy and joy will soar.
Start purging your social media accounts, stop following people who are negative, whiney, always blaming and so on. Just stop, who cares how long you’ve known them. Unfollow and if that doesn’t keep the negativity out, unfriend them too.
Then begin with your day to day relationships. Take them one by one and evaluate whether or not those relationships are healthy for you to continue. If so, awesome. If not, time to make some changes. We are not responsible for how other people choose to live, but we are responsible for the life we lead. What we are doing here is reducing the unhealthy from our daily living – which gives us more energy to put into the things we love.
Tip # 7 Clean out your schedule
Now that you have less to clean, and fewer needy people to satisfy, it is time to start emptying out your planner. Insert lots of laughter, I know. It can be done. One of the best emails my fans have gotten from me was when I turned on this lightbulb for them.
Start crossing things off your list that don’t need doing in the first place.
Remember how we purged our home of unnecessary crap and clutter? Now stop cleaning every day! It’s not needed. Set one housecleaning task for each day of the week or pick a room. Say bathrooms on Monday, and living room on Tuesday. Or do the 10-minute pickup method, every night you spend 10 minutes (along with family members) and you pick up what you can. Then once a week you all spend an hour doing real cleaning as a team.
It’s also time for you to let other people be responsible and learn to fend for themselves. Stop doing all the laundry, all the cooking and all the errands.
Start to delegate!!!
Let go of perfectionism and keeping up with your neighbors. Stop assuming people will judge you.
Stop caring what people think about how you live your life.
*Remember we are aiming for health and balance here, not being on either extreme of anything.
Tip #8 Add time for You
Often, we multitask because it is the only way we feel we can get anything done and get five minutes to sit down. Time to flip the switch.
Take time for you first, then get up and do whatever it is you were going to do.
When we slow down enough to allow our self to slow down and recuperate and relax we will realize the fretful pace we were going at and then we will decide to knock that craziness off. When we get up to resume our activities we will be in a state of calm, peace and will feel more energized and ready. It is much more likely that we will get things done without feeling the stress.
Tip #9 Realize
You are human. As long as you try to be superhuman meeting everyone else’s demands and expectations for how you are supposed to live your life, you will always feel stressed and be multitasking.
There is enough time in the day to do what needs doing – when that doing is based on your values (instead of everyone else’s).
Breathe and let yourself take each day hour by hour and moment by moment.
Do what you are doing, do a nice job (not perfect) and then move on to the next thing.
Tip #10 Do what matters
Go back to my example of being at work and doing all these dumb little tasks that seriously have no real impact on the future or progress of the company.
Think about your life and all the dumb silly things that you have been spinning in wheels doing that NEVER needed doing in the first place. Stop just doing things because it makes you look busy or keeps you busy. It wastes time, energy and your talents.
Do this with your personal life too. It’s like when you kid turns 3 and yet you are still carrying that darn diaper bag everywhere! It’s not needed. Yes, your kid will make a mess or need something but you will cope just fine in that moment, without toting the dang bag 24/7. Focus on the 1-2 things that will result in the best value from doing them. This is the “If I only have time to get one thing done today, what one thing will make the most impact in the long run?” Note the long run. Stop living in your yesterdays.
Start thinking about the life you are living today and how it will impact your life down the road. Spending an hour power scrubbing your house will not result in anything valuable, while if you instead spent that hour doing financial organizing or planning, or you studied for a class to improve your career, could have a positive long-term impact.
The Jist of It
Here’s the thing, if you go through these tips above and I mean really understand and apply them here is what will happen:
You will have zero need to multitask!
You will have created your day, week and to-do lists based on real values, real productivity and purpose, thus reducing your actual ‘Need To’ dramatically. You will be living decisively, which means no longer at the whim and under the pleasing of everyone else. You will be living more on purpose, with intention and clarity.
You will feel so FREE and ALIVE!
Now, I hear you, you want to argue and you have great examples of still needing to multitask. The thing is your life is a choice, so if you continue to multi-task after going through the above – it is because you are deciding to, the when and where and why for it.
If you are in charge of a group of people, teach them by example how to be independent and decisive too – so they are not requiring your direct leadership nonstop.
What happens when you stop multitasking?
You begin living more in the moment. You start to enjoy each activity at hand and you feel more blessed and capable. You do a better job and you learn how to live intentionally.
Have you done any of these life shifters above? What worked well for you? What didn’t? Leave me your thoughts in the comments.
That brings me to the #1 thing that is a direct result of being a superhuman multitasker – stress.
If you struggle with feeling stressed and overwhelmed all the time, try our 30-Day Stress Relief challenge!
The challenge is free and will help you learn to breathe. You can sign up below.
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