How to Multi-Task and Thrive

multitask
How to Multitask and Thrive
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Do you ever feel pulled in a million different directions? 

I often wish I had a clone!

I am the mother of 2 adult children and 1 teen, as well as the step-mom of 1 teen and 1 pre-teen.  Add a precious grandson and beautiful daughter-in-law, and don’t forget grandson #2 due in May of this year!  And, we can never forget my husband, child #6!  A nine, soon to be 10, person small family!  We are beyond blessed.

On top of being a mother and wife, I am a manager in a major production facility, managing approximately 100 employees daily.  Finally, this year I helped create the first booster club for my son’s wrestling team, one which has raised about $10,000 in its first year!

Everywhere I go, every minute I spend, I do what I can to multi-task.  Even as I sit typing this blog, I have made phone calls and sent emails for my son’s team and arranged for my daughter to travel home for the weekend.  For a moment, the world was spinning!

As a manager and mom of teens, I have noticed the struggle for lots of people to handle multiple tasks in succession.  Today’s life is so fast-paced that if you don’t keep pace, you miss out on too much.

How do we keep up and still enjoy life to the fullest?

Prioritize.

All tasks are not equally important

Thus, it is essential to establish a hierarchy of importance between tasks and responsibilities.  Checklists are great for ordering tasks by importance.  I handle the bills for my family, as well as any other “secretarial” type calls or transactions.  Friday is the big day.  Thursday evening I often write out a list of calls to be made to pay all the bills.  Often, a child’s activities creep into the middle of this list.  However, the power bill being paid on time is more important than registering my son for a tournament, for example.  His registration will happen, but he needs electricity in his home more than he needs to be registered for the tournament.  Often, tasks are time-sensitive, thus dictating the order they must happen.  For example, I submit specific reports by a designated time daily because other employees are awaiting the report to complete their tasks specific to those reports.

Organize.

Organization saves time, time we all need

There are numerous ways to organize your life activities.  Calendars are the best.  I use my calendar on my phone, placing reminders for all work, family, and sports activities.  This simplifies making appointments and keeping them.  When my daughter called me today and asked if I could pick her up from Atlanta on Friday, I quickly looked at my calendar and saw that it was clear.  Calendars work great for future events.  However, for a daily basis, a checklist suffices.

Delegate.

You do not have to do everything!

You are not the only person in your company, you are not the only person in your family, and you’re definitely not the only parent in the school.  Growing other employees to learn some of your responsibilities at work gives you flexibility, and it is just the smart thing to do.  If you aspire to move up from your current position, teach someone you trust aspects of your current position so that it would be an easy transition for the company.

I have been in a position in which I have refused to move to another division of the company, simply because it would have hurt the company due to the lack of cross-training that had taken place.  The second time this happened, I set out to change things, and I decided that day that I would always have a back-up so that I would never be in that position again.  The key is searching out someone you trust to fill-in for you.  In the family unit, suck up your pride and let your husband pull his weight by picking up the kids or washing a load of clothes.

In the booster club and in other team parent situations, I have had to delegate responsibilities to other parents.  This year our team held a tournament with 4 other wrestling teams.  The same evening was our first ever Alumni Night, along with a reception created by yours truly, as well as recognition during the matches.  Don’t forget the concessions stand, the gate, and a 50/50 raffle.  My daughter was home for Christmas break that week and really wanted to spend time with her new boyfriend.  I capitalized on that by enlisting her to cook the food for the reception and bring it to the gym so that I could arrive earlier at the gym.  She and her boyfriend helped in setup of everything and ran out for pizza and other needed items.  Texts, phone calls, and emails brought lots of parent help into the picture.  It was a busy but extremely successful night.  Without delegation, it would have been a total wreck!

In the home, delegating is as simple as assigning chores to the kids.  This has helped my daughter cope with “real life.”  She easily cleans her own clothes, takes out the garbage, cleans her area, including the dorm room bathroom.  This is all second nature to her.  Now, I am working on my 16-year-old son!  I will groom him into an awesome husband for one very blessed young lady…maybe 20 years down the road.  Delegating is not laziness, rather it is intelligent work, intelligent living.

Focus on the task at hand.

Focus!

According to research, what we call multi-tasking is truly task-switching at a rapid pace.  Yes, life, in general, is extremely busy.  However, focusing on the task at hand and completing this task leads to greater productivity and quality.  If you switch between tasks constantly, you do not devote adequate time and energy to either task.  Focus on one task, complete this task, and then move on to the next task.  Sometimes you must tell others to wait on their needs until you complete the current task at hand.  Focus makes an amazing difference in the result!

Learn to say, “No.”

If you are always the “yes man,” you will burn out.

And quickly at that!  Learn to say, “No,” as needed in ALL areas of your life.  You do not hold the world on your shoulders, and no one should expect you to do so.  Just breathe!  Don’t be scared.  Just say the word!  No!

Find time for yourself.

There is only one YOU! 

Find time to do the things you love.  Reading is my escape, my relaxation.  In the past year, I have finally found time again to read three books.  That’s not a lot of reading, but it is more reading than I have allowed myself in the recent past.  I was more focused on what everyone else needed or wanted.  An old hobby of mine is sewing.  I have had pillow stuffing for quite some time now.  During Christmas, I shocked my daughter when I finally made some pillows out of all this stuffing.  It was a relaxing time doing something productive but fun.  An added plus was teaching my daughter a new life skill.  I savor and cherish moments as those.

Cherish those simple moments with your family.

Love those you love with all your heart in the simplest of moments.

We spend lots of time driving our kids to and from various events.  During those long drives, I take time to talk to them about life.  We set life goals together.  I will never forget the trip where I had both Sarah and Abe make a list of their life goals.  We revisit these goals about once a year, sometimes more often for my son, Abe.

This Christmas was the first time ever our little family had a family get-together and all were present!  It was rather special as we ate a feast together, exchanged gifts, and just loved on one another.  Besides cooking for about 8 hours, I spent hours in the floor playing with my sweet grandson.  Other things in life went to the backburner as we enjoyed our time as a family, for that was the most important thing in our lives at that time.

Set attainable goals.

Don’t overdo it!

Set the bar high enough but not so high that you can never reach it.  Give yourself adequate time to effectively complete tasks.  Many of us would love for our children to attend Ivy League colleges and universities at little to no cost.  I am not saying to lower your standards.  Reach for the stars!  However, realize limitations.  Not every child will receive a full scholarship, or any scholarship for that matter.  You’re a parent, though, and your number one job is problem-solving.  If you don’t reach a goal in one way, you try another way.  There is more than one way to skin a cat!

Reflect on successes and failures.

Without reflection, our successes are meaningless.

Reflection is a healthy step of life.  Genuine self-reflection opens one’s eyes to reality.  Success and failure are both part of life.  If at first you don’t succeed, try again! Analyze that failure, and ask, “Why?”  What could you have done differently to be successful? How have you succeeded in the past?  What was different this time?

Never give up!

You only fail if you stop trying.

A failure is not the end of the world.  It is only a stepping stone to your success.  Life is too short to just throw in the towel.  Fight the good fight, and ensure you can look in the mirror at the end of the day and can say, “I gave it my all!”

 

All the best as we all give it our all,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

 

 
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