It appears as if nobody does one thing at a time anymore. At work we talk on the phone while reading an email or while on our computer. At home we cook while texting or watching TV or helping the kids with their homework or while talking with our partner. Business meetings at the most senior level have executives give presentations while those in attendance are listening while simultaneously sending client and/or employee emails or they’re secretly surfing the net. And, unfortunately, we all know the dangers of texting and driving, but many people continue to do this nonetheless.
In many respects multi-tasking is the only way we can manage to get everything done. This appears to be especially true for women who have way too long “to-do” lists – at work and at home. However we are kidding ourselves if we believe that our choice to never (or hardly ever) be thoroughly engaged in any specific activity – whether it be working on a client project, parenting our children or interacting with our spouse (or significant other) is not compromising our activities and relationship with others.
As a married mother of four children, I totally understand the need for multi-tasking at work and at home. My point is that we must not forget that the ability to focus, concentrate and be totally present at work and at home must not go the way of the dinosaur. There are times in our professional and personal life where it is imperative that we deal with one task, one assignment and one emotional issue at a time. The people with whom we work and love must know that we can prioritize their needs when necessary – and put them in the spotlight, where our skill and emotions are not shared with anyone or anything else. Working moms must know when to put down the smart phone and/or shut off the computer so we can be fully engaged with our children.
In our fast-paced world where women are wearing so many hats, this is, of course not always possible; but it must, at some times, be very possible – and we must not lose the ability to determine when this single- focused attention is critical to our professional and personal success!
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