Monthly Archives: February 2015

In the End, Multitasking may be Making you More Busy Than Ever

by Christina Rowsell

As a working mother of two busy boys naturally I’m great at multitasking.  I get up for the day.  The moment I’m up — I’m thinking about what I have to do today, what I have to do tomorrow and what I need to do at the end of the month.  At the same time I’m applying my make-up, doing my hair and yelling at my boys to get dressed.  Still, while trying to curl my hair, I’m checking my emails for anything that might be important.  Plus I’m thinking about what the boys want in their lunch for school, how long it’s going to take to drive to gymnastics and reminding myself that I need to buy a gift for the birthday party this weekend.  Almost done my hair and make-up, I start to brush my teeth.  At the same time I’m yelling at my boys to see if they’re dressed and ready to go down stairs to have breakfast.  All this in 30 minutes.  Phew… I’m exhausted and it’s only 7:30 a.m.  What is the rest of my day looking like?

I’ve always taken pride in being a good multitasker.  But, is there really such a thing?  Are we good at multitasking, or have we just trained our brains to think that way?  I’m beginning to think that boasting my skills as a good multitasker may only be damaging my ability to get things done.

I was asked to attend a Mindful Training session through The Potential Project.  Dorota Ulkowska, Senior Trainer with The Potential Project explains, “Science has shown us that our brain cannot focus on more than one task a time. Keep in mind, this refers to analytical thinking. Therefore, having a conversation while putting on make up is still something we can do because the makeup application is not analytical. What our brain does when we “multitask” is that it switches from one focus point to another. Our brains do this so quickly that we identify it as multitasking. However, as we are switching back and forth between focal points, we actually are using up more energy, making more mistakes, loosing the oversight of what is truly important, and we actually end up doing all those things longer than we would have if we separated the tasks out.”

What I walked away with was knowing that not only am I bad at multitasking, but by multitasking I’m only making situations work.  In this training session we were asked to do a multitasking test.  The results were staggering.  It took me twice as long to complete the test, making me less efficient. I had less focus and was stressed out trying to do my best.  The quality was reduced and I made more mistakes.  Most of all, after competing the multitasking test, it drained my energy.  I literally felt a heaviness in my shoulders and chest.  I was also annoyed that I couldn’t complete the task well.

What was the test?  A simple one.  Here you try it.

Here are the tools you’ll need:
A stop watch
A pen
A piece of paper with 4 lines

Do this task after reading all the instructions per challenge.
In the first task you need to focus on write out the words “I am a great multitasker.”
Once you complete that sentence, on the second line write out the numbers 1-20.

It will look like this:
I am a great multitasker
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Time yourself.  Don’t rush.  Do it as you would normally write that sentence and then the numbers.  Ready, set, go!

Once you’re done, write down the time it took to finish this task.

Next, you will write the same sentence on the third line.  However, after each letter in the sentence write the same numbers as before on the forth line.  Do this in sequence from letter to number, letter to number, letter to number, etc.  It will flow like this – with each task on one line; the sentence on top and the numbers below.

Multitasking 1

Time yourself again.
Ready, set, go!

How did you feel?  Was your energy drained?  Hard right?  I’ll be honest, I was mad that I wasn’t good at multitasking.

But now I get it!  We’ve been conditioned to think that we NEED to multitask.  We live in a culture that expects it.  In actual fact, by multitasking we are working less efficient.  We’re actually getting less done.  And the more you multitask, the more you train your brain to multitask.  We’re creating bad habits.

The Mindful Training session with The Potential Project gave me a wake up call.  Imaging how much more efficiently I could work if I focused on the task at hand.  Imagine the quality of work I could do if I focused on the task at hand.  And in my home life, image the presence I could have with my children by focusing on just them.

Here’s the challenge.  How do I do this?  How can I apply mindful thoughts to my everyday life. Here’s how The Potential Project suggests putting mindfulness into action.

Rule #1
Focus on what you chose.  At the end of the day, every thought and action we do is our choice.  We can chose on what we want to focus on.  The first thing we need to do is to get rid of the distractions. Chose the environment you want to work in.  Some distractions while you’re working can be: email notifications, social media, or office chatter.  You can chose to rid yourself of notifications, social media pop ups and the environment you work in.  In some cases you can’t always chose where you work and how people chat around you, however you can chose not to engage in the conversation.  Rejuvenate your office space.  Clear your own clutter.

Rule #2
Chose your distractions mindfully.  Obviously some distractions can not be helped.  And example is: Your boss comes into your office and says I need you in my office immediately!  Do you ignore the boss?  Probably not.  So you need to be mindful of what distractions can’t be avoided.

This is a start.  There’s so much more to being mindful.  Having thoughts pop in your head is normal, but if we can remember to focus, we would be able to achieve so much more.  This is certainly a challenge I put out to myself.  I’m going to focus on being more mindful.

For more information on The Potential Project and Mindful Training please visit here www.potentialproject.ca

Through a series of google searches on how many hours a day a working mom spends time on daily specifics, I came up with this graphic.  Below are the links to the studies I found.

multitasking 2*According to a mother who works full time – based on 5 days a week:

36 hours per week at a paying job
2 hour a week on herself
17 hours a week on housework
14 hours a week on taking care of the kids

What I didn’t find was the statistics on how much time is spent on taking the kids to their activities, cooking meals and sleeping.  I’m assuming it’s mixed in with the childcare, housework and leisure time.  In that case, add a few more hours in to the 2 hours for sleeping.

Radio AnnouncerBloggerPhotographer, Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and… Part Time Cook (only when she has time). Looking for The Brighter Side of life sharing Good News, Great Ideas & Amazing People.  Sitting still is something Christina knows nothing about.  If you have a story to share feel free to contact Christina.  Follow on Twitter, @BrighterSideyyc @RadioChristina, and LIKE on Facebook The Brighter Side and ChristinaRowsell.com.

 

How to Nurture Your Marriage When You’re Busy Raising Kids

by Elizabeth Pantley

Your marriage (or your adult partnership) is the foundation upon which your entire family is built. If your relationship is strong, your family will be stronger; your life will be more peaceful, you’ll be a better parent, and quite simply, you’ll have more fun in your life. Even if you believe this, it can be hard to put your adult relationship in the position of importance that it deserves.

Yes, being a parent can get in the way of your relationship. But you don’t want to let it flounder until the kids are older and you can get around to it! So here are some practical easy-to-implement ideas that you can apply even if your time and your household is overrun by little people:

Appreciate the good things, overlook little annoyances

Take a minute to think about the many wonderful reasons that you chose to be with this person. Those things are probably still there – but covered up with a layer of peanut butter. Your first step in nurturing your marriage is to remember that even though you are parents, you are still a couple, too. Make it a habit to ignore the little annoying things – dirty socks on the floor, worn out flannel pajamas, an awkward burp at dinner – and choose instead to search for those things that make you smile: the way he plays with the baby, or the peace in knowing someone so well that you can wear your worn out flannels or burp at the table.

Give daily compliments to each other

Now that you’ve committed to looking for the good in your partner, it’s time to say it! Compliments make you feel loved, and make you feel more loving. Compliments are easy to give, take such a little bit of time, and they’re free – you just have to make the effort to say them. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small thing, or big things – kind words will bring you closer together.

Mind your manners

That may sound funny to you, but think about it. How many times do you see partners treating each other in impolite ways that they’d never even treat a friend? Sometimes we take our each other for granted and unintentionally display rudeness. As the saying goes, if you have a choice between being right and being nice, just choose to be nice.

Pick your battles

This is great advice for child-rearing-and great advice to follow in your marriage as well. In any relationship there will be disagreements. The key is to decide which issues are worth pursuing and which are better off ignored. From now on, anytime you feel annoyed, take a minute to examine the issue, and ask yourself two questions. “How important is this?” and “Should I choose this battle or let it go?”

Cuddle more

When you have little children you likely always have someone on your lap or in your arms. You probably have a day filled with sticky hugs and kisses. Remember to shower some of that affection on each other. Sprinkled throughout the day is best – stay in the habit of kisses, hugs and touches and your relationship will feel more loving to you both.

Spend time with your spouse

It can be very difficult for your marriage to thrive if you spend all your time being “Mommy” and “Daddy”. You need to spend regular time as a couple. This doesn’t mean you have to take a vacation to Hawaii. Just take small daily snippets of time when you can enjoy uninterrupted conversation, or even quiet companionship, without a baby on your hip, a child tugging your shirtsleeve or a teenager begging for the car keys. You owe it to yourself – and to your kids – to nurture your relationship.

Many people find that a regular “date night” is easiest. Perhaps set this up as a standard grandparent, aunt or uncle time with your kids, if you have family who would enjoy this. Or share babysitting time with friends or a co-op.

If you can’t find child care, then once a week set up a routine dinner, movie or talking time for just the two of you after the kids are in bed at night. Or meet for lunch, or get up early and have breakfast before the troops arise. Or let the kids have movie night in one room while you two put aside work and house tasks to just be together for an hour or two. The key is to find something that works for you – and then do it regularly.

I hope you’ll get started with these ideas right away. And watch your relationship take on a whole new glow.

Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Discipline Solution (McGraw-Hill) by Elizabeth Pantley.

Looking for Love – Dating in 2015

by Eve Goodwin

Imagine walking through a crowded room full of people, looking for love. As you approach each person, you grab them by the head, look at them for 5 seconds, and then shove their heads to the right if they’re “hot’, and to the left if they’re “not”. Then, you elbow your way through the rest of the room, and wait for someone to shove your head in the right direction too. Welcome to Tinder. For Match.com, it’s much the same, except before you place a large CHECK or X on peoples’ foreheads, you ask them what they do for a living, and how often they work out. Is this really how we’re choosing our life partners these days?

Sadly, it often is. Dating today is rife with immediate gratification and endless options, based on selfies and close proximity. Nobody wants to be judged on a five second physical assessment, and yet, that is what most people are doing, thereby limiting themselves, and sabotaging their chances of actually finding love. People are often thinking about great relationships as something that you find, instead of something that you build and maintain. After a few months, if this relationship isn’t easy, there are thousands of other singles out there, looking for you!

As a matchmaker, I set people up based on what they say they’re looking for, which is usually honesty, kindness, sense of humour, and common interests. But on first dates, which are usually coffee dates lasting less than an hour, the one thing that most people are actually looking for is physical chemistry. I think we’ve been conditioned to do this by browsing hundreds and thousands of thumbnails, looking for the most attractive ones. And because there appears to be endless singles out there, searching for you, nobody seems to want to invest any time into getting to know someone unless their loins are immediately tingling after one coffee date. I cannot tell you how many times people have not wanted to go on a second date with a “great” person, because there was no “spark”. People want immediate sparks, like in a Ryan Gosling movie. Anything less is settling. Physical attraction is important, for sure, but I think that people expect it at first sight, which is not always how it works. Personally, I prefer to find my own unique weirdo, who understands and appreciates my oddities as well, and as we unwrap each other’s onion layers of nerdiness gradually, and get to know and adore each other over time, we become irresistibly sexy to each other. To me, that’s hot. But, as I mentioned, I’m a weirdo. I’ll forego initial sparks for a long term, slow burning fire.

If you ask a happily married couple what they love the most about each other after 50 years together, the answers you are likely to get are: they support me through good times and bad, or they do little things every day to make me feel loved, or they understand me and accept for who I truly am. I would be very surprised to hear a sweet little 80 year old lady say, “Hubert has six pack abs, and he always waits three days before calling me back, and keeps me guessing, which I LOVE.”

Most people who have been in a long-term relationship realize that chemistry and “sparks” come from intimacy and trust, and is not something that can be established in one hour. We KNOW this, but somehow, it gets lost and forgotten in the Game of Dating, which is like Game of Thrones, but even more bizarre and vicious.

Because we are passionate about helping people find that romantic connection that they’re looking for, a large part of our job has been trying to convince people to broaden their search parameters for potential dates, instead of sticking to a “type”, which has not served them in the past.

It’s difficult to be open minded, but when people really are, we have seen amazing and beautiful things happen. Like love. And we live for love.

Eve Goodwin is a Maritimer with an incurable case of wanderlust, who has now put down roots in Calgary with her three lovely daughters. An avid writer from the time she could hold a pencil, she is an enthusiast enthusiast, and enjoys bringing people together as a Matchmaker/Love Ninja at ModernBlindDates.com