I am a notorious-avid-awesome multitasker. A fact I’ve always been rather proud of. (Well not so much lately when I keep hearing more and more studies about the long term effects on the brain of multitasking like concentration issues and dementia and …. oh something else…. ) Where was I…
Oh yes, multitasking.
Having lived a lifestyle that demands the ability to multitask, I find it almost impossible to do one single thing at a time.
I read while watching TV and playing “Draw Something” (which probably explains some of my not so stellar pics!).
I answer emails with one hand, file with the other hand all while attempting to hold a conversation on the phone.
I broke my foot last year because I was attempting to text while walking around the hotel swimming pool at night. Frankly I’m very lucky I didn’t drown! Or worse – get my iPhone wet and ruined :).
Heaven forbid I walk into the bathroom without an activity in hand! I am often brushing my teeth (don’t judge me!), reading something or the other and sometimes even petting Garrett (the Ninja dog – who has learned how to open the bathroom door and LOVES plopping at my feet and rolling over onto his back for belly rubs while I’m a captive audience!)
I blame the bathroom thing on my father who ALWAYS had the latest Readers Digest Magazine on the back of the toilet when I was growing up. Which is why I developed a hemorrhoid at 11 and thought it was a tumor and I was going to die and that’s a whole other story you did not sign up for – okay – changing gears now. Well, sorta.
I confess that I do lots of social media in the bathroom. Before you judge me – I KNOW I’m not alone in this! In fact, a recent study says that 75 percent of Americans admit to using their smartphones while on the toilet. So – stop being so smug three-out-of-four of you! The one-out-of-four can remain smug I suppose…
Recently we had about 48 hours with the extended family at a beach in south Florida. Some of these people we very rarely get to see so it’s always a real treat. We were sitting at breakfast on the last morning together in this quite little seaside diner. There was oh – 14 or 15 of us and I looked up from “checking in” on my phone at the “FourSquare” app and glanced around the table. Except for two people – every other person at the table was texting, tweeting, reading email, making a call, instagramming… It was crazy! (And this doesn’t count the kids – they were out riding bikes and playing with sea critters!). The grownups – all on our iPhones.
I was honestly startled. And it made me wonder how many people were, in reality, at breakfast with us. Between “followers” and “friends” and “contacts” we had essentially invited thousands of people to join us at our rare family breakfast.
Then I started thinking about my own house. When was the last time Marcus and I were truly alone. Oh we have date night and get to spend large amounts of time together (that is a very good thing!) BUT – we always have “tag-a-longs.” We go to a quiet dinner – and tweet a picture of the food to several hundred people. We answer a text that really could wait. We check voicemail. We read twitter. Etc, etc.
I think back on the Biblical idea of a Sabbath. Now, in Christian circles we usually associate this day with – get up and go to church. And I’m not disagreeing with that – but I really love the bigger picture here… a day set aside for a higher purpose… different from the routine… special… honored.
So Marcus and I are in the process of implementing a “social media / electronic” form of a Sabbath. Not for religious reasons – for health and sanity reasons. Following the wisdom of another time that said – no matter how crazy busy you are – take time apart.
I know it will be hard (addict here!) and complicated by the fact that we have precious little routine in our life due to the nature of our work – but our intention is to set aside time, a day, a weekend, even a few hours – to just “BE.”
Read, talk, play a game, take a nap… just be alone with the people actually PRESENT with us.
We’ve already begun a bit and I know it will take practice – but I’m actually pretty excited about it. I LOVE all the opportunities being electronically connected to people I don’t get to see all the time offers – but I don’t want that to steal time from the people I DO actually get to see. As most things – it probably comes down to balance. We’ll see how it goes.
And step ONE: No more brushing teeth in the bathroom. That really is nasty.
How do YOU keep your social and social media life balanced? Ideas? Tips? Suggestions?