Masterful Mindsets ~ Multitasking is a Lie and Busyness is a Disease

“The biggest disease in North America is busyness.”  ~ Thomas Merton


Are you a master multitasker? Are you so busy that you believe you must multitask to get everything done? Do you believe that multitasking is a quick and effective way to get tasks accomplished?

Action Challenge: 

This past week I held a training for people who were ready to get their lives back on track and start achieving some of the goals they’d set for themselves but still had not accomplished.

On the call, I gave several tips on how to increase your success level and one tip in particularly, apparently hit a nerve with a few people. 😉

What did I say? Well, what I said was… MULTITASKING IS A LIE!

There is a common misconception that multitasking is a great way to get more done in a shorter period of time. But quite the contrary… Studies show that multitasking not only makes tasks take longer (on average, even simple tasks take 25% longer and difficult tasks can take up to 100% longer) but it also causes tasks not to be completed as well.

However, I got several emails from people since the training telling me that they “have to multitask in order to get more done”. This is a prime example of the lie that we’ve come to believe. They are feeling an all too common pressure that so many people feel. (Perhaps you can relate?) And they have been brainwashed into thinking that if they could just multitask a little more than they can get everything done. It doesn’t work.

The way of the world has become such that there is always more to do and less time to do it. So, in our quest to keep our heads above water, society has created multitasking monsters out of us. We are always hurrying to get things done and pushing ourselves beyond our limits just to get ahead. We multitask to do more but end up being less efficient in the long run.

Sadly, I feel like multitasking is just a “symptom” of the bigger issue, which is that we are so busy being busy. When and if we do get caught up, we add more to our list and cause ourselves to become even busier. We have busyness sickness. But unfortunately, much of what we are spending our time doing, isn’t getting us any closer to achieving our goals and making our dreams a reality. Instead, it’s just causing us to become stressed and overwhelmed.

Sound familiar? Rate yourself on the following “symptoms” and see if you have a case of busyness sickness too. Give yourself one point for each statement that is true for you. Then check your results on the scale below.

  • I always seem to be running just a little late.
  • I rely on my ability to multitask (i.e., drive, talk on my cell phone, drink my coffee, all at the same time).
  • I overbook and over-commit myself.
  • I prefer to be first in line at a red light and will change lanes to be so.
  • When I’m in the express lane at the grocery store, I count the number of items in the basket ahead of me.
  • I find myself rushing even when I have no need to rush.
  • I have a difficult time saying no when people ask me to do things.
  • I look at (check) my cell phone at least 10x a day for missed texts, emails or social media messages.
  • I would be lost without my cell phone by my side.
  • I find myself wishing the microwave would hurry up.
  • I have been known to complain about the service at a fast-food restaurant being too slow.
  • I check my email at least twice a day (including the weekend).

Your score: ______

Busyness Scale:
1 to 3:  You have a healthy pace in life.
4 to 6:  You have a mild case of busyness sickness.
7 to 9:  You have a full-blown case of busyness sickness
10 to 12:  You have a terminal case of busyness sickness (just kidding, but you get the point)

Which symptom did you identify with the most?  Why?

My challenge to you is to take some time now and think about what might be the driving force behind your busyness sickness? Is it a need to people please? A sign could be that you want to make everyone happy or you just “hate saying no” to anyone. Or maybe it’s an old belief that if you aren’t keeping busy then you aren’t of value. If you had a workaholic parent, this could be you. Or did it “just happen”? (HINT: It can happen before you know it, but it doesn’t “just happen”. It occurs because of choices and decisions you’ve made that have allowed yourself to get to this point.) If you think it just happened, then think again.

In the coming weeks, I’ll have more to come on how to overcome this “busyness sickness”. But in the meantime, I would like to encourage you to begin to curb the habit of multitasking. It is a great way to begin to break your busyness down so you can create healthier and more effective patterns in your life.

***Want to hear the rest of the tips I gave in last week’s training, along with how to replace multitasking with a more effective and efficient plan? Plus receive key strategies that will help you get back on track, up your game and achieve your goals easier, quicker and at a higher level than ever before? You can still get instant access to the replay this week. Get Access Here

***I want to hear from you… Share your comments below.