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March 31, 2007

Multitasking Moms Beware

Juggles_2 I saw an interesting New York Times article from 3/25/07: "Slow Down, Brave Multitasker, And Don't Read This in Traffic". The article published some very interesting points on multi-tasking:

"Several research reports, both recently published and not yet published, provide evidence of the limits of multitasking. The findings, according to neuroscientists, psychologists and management professors, suggest that many people would be wise to curb their multitasking behavior when working in an office, studying or driving a car."

"These experts have some basic advice. Check e-mail messages once an hour, at most. ....... Driving while talking on a cellphone, even with a hands-free headset, is a bad" idea."

Hint Hint, oh moms, dads, and all drivers I see almost get into near collisions because they are on the phone. I have to admit that having a BlackBerry allows me to check email often, but only when I am sitting somewhere or waiting in line - not while driving. Hearing my BlackBerry buzz indicating I have email is tempting, but I fight off the urge in the car. I also made the choice not to buy a hands free headset because I know that I would use it - and that it would distract me while I was driving. I do allow myself the pleasure of checking email while waiting in the carpool line at my son's school.

I will never be able to give up the "doing 10 things at once" multi-tasking that I do at home, and school mornings are the worse; cooking kid's breakfast, running a load of laundry, making the kids school lunch, trying to drink my cup of tea before it gets cold, giving my kids 10 - 5 - 2 minute warnings for heading out the door in the morning, telling one brother or another to hit pillows and not their brother, trying to peak at the morning paper and my BlackBerry for urgent messages, trying to slip some breakfast in for myself. All of that, and my husband is actually a big help with many of the morning tasks (yes - a dad that also multi-tasks).  I may not do each individual task well, but I don't care what the experts say - in the morning survival is the main goal.  Other tasks that require greater attention, like blogging, need to be done when the kids are at school or after they go to bed.

But I do wonder how other parents feel about multi-tasking... Are they making it work or do they feel like they are trying to juggle balls and constantly dropping them? I definitely drop some balls; I have just learned to pick them up and keep going.

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