All the experts say it, and my head knows they’re right. Multitasking isn’t faster. Sustained focus is the way to get things done. And still, I get sucked in. Especially in the kitchen. And it always ends the same.

The possibility of accomplishing two tasks instead of one, three instead of two, dangles in front of me like a carrot leading a donkey. It’s always just out of reach. And I always get burned. Or rather, dinner does.

When I have too many irons in the fire, something gets burned.

This morning, it was pizza.

I was keen. Ingredients were grouped in the fridge. Pizza flats, on the island.

I tossed two pizzas in the oven before 7 am and moved on to breakfast. I decided scrambled eggs would be a good idea. (It wasn’t.) There were some leftover veggies in the fridge, so scrambled eggs evolved into an omelette.

Meanwhile, a few more kids wandered in and started eating.

I ran upstairs to dress and returned to extra-crispy-crust pizza.

When will I learn? I know to ditch the attempts at multitasking. But it isn’t yet a habit. In the kitchen, I don’t exactly have habits. I jump from task to task and bark orders for kids to help. Clearly, it’d work better if each of us were following a predictable order of events.

A morning routine. Building habits.

Jeff Goins recently shared how goal setting had left him stuck and discouraged. He was not progressing towards the life he dreamed of at all. He set goals and fell short and set goals again.

Until he started changing his habits. A new morning routine set him on course toward changing everything.

As Christmas approaches, to-do lists grow and the temptation to multitask may win out on occasion. That’s okay.

Just don’t let it take over your entire Advent.

Start small. Don’t overhaul your entire routine before Christmas.

Perhaps there is one thing you want to change about your morning. Perhaps it is already part of your morning, but you can bring calm to chaos by actually paying attention to it.

Breathe and notice the food you’re inhaling.

Coffee in mug, with fruit and toast unfocussed in the background.
Photo credit Hans Vivek at Unsplash.

Stop multitasking and taste your coffee.

Take another breath a few more times in the day. Just stop and notice and do one next thing. Not eight.

Don’t add more to your list, but the things you want to do anyway – the story you want to read with your kids – don’t multitask your way through it. Take the ten minutes and be present. (And bonus: they’ll likely demand less of your attention afterward – for at least the next 15 minutes! Use that time well!).

Savor your moments. Burn less food. Don’t let the allure of multitasking fool you.


4 thoughts on “How to Stop Getting Burned by Multitasking

  1. Colleen,
    So true!
    If the things we burn are but only pizza crusts!
    That’s it: do ONE thing. Complete it. Tackle the next one. Repeat.
    Thanks for reminding us!


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