Multitasking: The Bane or the Benefit of Modern Life?

Since I started blogging for SOL a year ago, I have read countless posts by participants who are focused on/concerned about the number of tasks they must accomplish in a day just to keep their head above water.

Most recently, one of our own bloggers wrote about how he almost fell asleep at the wheel and was in a fender-bender because he was so tired from the cumulative effect of everything he was trying to accomplish in a day.

This is a serious matter when it becomes life threatening!

Are we just trying to do too much, or do our lives require that we take on so much just to stay in the game? I guess we’re not called the “human race” for no reason; everyone seems to be rushing to get things done.

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When I retired I vowed to get off the hamster wheel and “only do things that make me happy.” What I failed to realize was that I still have to do the things that must be done and don’t necessarily make me happy.

These things include:
Doing the laundry several times a week…washing, drying and folding.
Grocery shopping twice a week for whatever is necessary for a week’s worth of meals and to restock essentials
Loading the dishwasher at least twice a day; doing random dishes, pots and pans as needed. (My husband takes over this job about 5 out of 7 nights after dinner.)
Collecting the mail and sorting it. Responding when necessary and paying bills.
Recycling. We try our best to recycle whatever we can. I fill and empty the recycling bin several times a day.
Cooking dinner 5 or 6 days a week from scratch. I am not a martyr; I just believe in fresh, healthy food, especially since my recovery from cancer.
Preparing lunch for my daughter 4 out of 5 days a week. We usually go to lunch one day a week as a treat.
Housecleaning: My husband and I share this; but since I am home more hours I tend to do the bulk of it. (He does all the outside work.)
Chores: Short car trips to pick up and/or drop off things at the post office, a doctor’s office, the library and so on.

When I look at this list I am not surprised that I feel busy all the time. Although I’ve retired, all the above still has to get done. That leaves limited time to “do the things that make me happy.”

The difference between my former working life and now is that I make the time for some of those things:

I try to take walks several times a week for exercise and general mental health reasons
I take several classes a week to maintain mobility, balance, strength and peace of mind
I participate in SOL every Tuesday during the year and in the March challenge because I enjoy the community of writers
I participate in a professional group, Long Island Writing Project by attending events and meetings approximately once a month because I enjoy this community of teacher/writers
I present workshops when possible to keep abreast of my field of Teaching English as a Second Language.
We try to do things as a family on weekends which can vary from visiting, having guests or going someplace.

Wow! There are more things I could add, but it makes me exhausted just to think about them. Maybe life on a farm would be easier? Fewer distraction perhaps, but it wouldn’t be me. In the modern age are we just doomed to be multitaskers?

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12 thoughts on “Multitasking: The Bane or the Benefit of Modern Life?”

  1. Glad that you’re able to make time for yourself now despite the chores. My aunt recently moved into assisted living is missing those right now. Trying to decide for myself what’s essential and what can be jettisoned.

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    1. I’m not ready for assisted living…so I guess I’m stuck with the chores. Sometimes we do have to step back and decide what can stay and what must go!

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  2. I find the blessing of retirement allows one to attend to one thing at a time rather than several things all happening simultaneously. Even though there continues to be the must do items, they take on a different look when you can do them when you want rather than after putting in a full day’s work. I think life on a farm would be considerably more difficult, too many plants and animals to take care of. đŸ™‚

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    1. I was only joking about the farm. That’s a 24/7 responsibility. I don’t know how farmers (and their wives) do it. I hope they get a lot of satisfaction from their work…they should.

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  3. It is a balancing act with things that have to be done on one hand and things we want to do on the other. Since I retired I can say that there are times I put off what has to be done until tomorrow just because I can. It still gets done.

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  4. You’ve provided a realistic view of retirement. When I read your list (and I do almost all of the tasks mentioned) I realize why I feel like I’m never done. Since I attended my “exit session” for retirement today, I was especially tuned in to this post. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I, too, wondered what retirement would be like before I took the big step. Then I got cancer a week after retirement. Now a year later retirement is a piece of cake in comparison. You’ll be fine! Teachers know how to organize their lives.

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