Friday, 16 March 2012

Perfecting the art of multitasking

        "Could you stop doing that and listen to me for a minute?" implores hubby, as he waits impatiently for me to cast aside my exercise books. I reluctantly put down my pen, swivel around with an interested smile plastered on my face and listen to him share the latest e-mail.
        Being a man, hubby is multitasking challenged. He is unable to do more than one task at one go. When forced to perform two tasks at the same time, he often gives up midway in frustration. Neither can he accept the fact that others, namely his wife, are able to successfully multitask. He is often irritated when I persist in handling more than an action at a time, as he is of the opinion that I will fail to accomplish both, despite being proven otherwise time and again.
        Now before I arouse anger in any male reader, I must emphasize that I did not conjure the theory of women being better at multitasking than men. Many studies have been carried out and all the results prove this. A neurologist at the University of California has confirmed that the nerve connections in the female brain are thirty percent more developed than their counterparts in the male brain. These nerve connections are responsible for allowing information to flow more easily from one side of the brain to the other, thus enabling women to focus on more than one thing at a time. I do not need these scientists to hand me the proof; both my dad and hubby are the living examples!
        There are many, usually men of course, who do not favour multitasking. They argue that when your concentration is spread around, less quality is achieved. As a modern day career woman,  I depend heavily on multitasking to fully utilise time. Fortunately, I am fairly good at it and practice does make perfect.
        Some examples of multitasking in my daily life :
1.   Clearing the clutter on my dressing table as I blow dry my hair
2.   Folding laundry and then reading the newspaper whilst watching tv
3.   Washing dirty dishes during intervals of stir-frying and simmering
4.   Keying into my phone the list of things to buy on my next trip to Tesco whilst sitting on my throne
5.   Calling up for appointments or deleting messages as I wait in the car for my parents who have gone to get something from the shop
6.   Applying lipstick or pinning on my name tag as I wait at the traffic lights
7.   Sorting out the junk that has accumulated in the glove compartment while waiting for the lights to change
8.   Scrubbing and spraying water on the bathroom tiles and shower screen when I am in the shower
9.   Watering the plants as I wait for my ride to arrive
10. Wiping the kitchen counters or washing something as I wait for the microwave to ding
11. Replying text messages and participating in face-to-face conversations while waiting for the food to arrive at the coffee shop (this is something that I am not proud of and vow to stop doing as it is unforgivably rude to engage in other tasks whilst talking with a friend or family member)
12. Thinking of 101 things that need to be settled as I wait in line at the supermarket cashier or at the post office
13. Keeping a conversation going on the phone and at the same time, marking my students' work
14. Replying emails or checking facebook notifications in between marking exercise books
15. Replying or deleting text messages whilst on the treadmill
16. Running to the bathroom to brush my teeth or wash my face in between commercial breaks
17. Mentally preparing the following day's teaching lessons and maintaining a look of serious concentration as I sit through assemblies and meetings (keeping my fingers crossed that my boss never stumbles upon this blog entry)
18. Planning the next dinner menu or the next day's agenda as I pretend to listen attentively to hubby drone on and on about his latest bug photos and contribute appropriately to the one-sided conversation
19. Catching up on the latest with my good friend at work as we both mark our own books and occasionally attending to students who come to us for one thing or another
20. Pondering on what to write for my next blog to take my mind off the pain as my facial therapist squeezes out my blackheads

        Although I am a compulsive multitasker, I am well aware that at times in life, I need to just sit back and relax. I know life is too short and should be appreciated. Therefore, I do take time to savour life by enjoying a dinner with family members without interruptions, exchanging news on the phone with mummy dearest, delighting in a good book to wind down at the end of the day and having a quiet moment with my Lord.

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