Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Joys of Multitasking

Let's face it guys......most of the time we're not the best at multitasking. Yes....I know there are a few of you that will beg to differ. However, ladies would probably agree that for the most part I am correct on this assumption. I have improved over the years. Being a husband, father and teacher transforms you just a little bit.  Here are my top pieces of advice, observations, or experiences about multitasking. Yes guys....there are ladies out there who can join our "club" too and there are guys out there who somehow have super powers.

1. Men....when your wife or girlfriend is talking to you, look at them. If you're anything like me, those words that come out of her mouth will not connect with those areas of the brain that actually make meaning out of what she says.Those famous words....."Do you understand?". I have learned to say no, instead of nodding my head "uh huh". Why? Because wife is smart enough to actually make me repeat back what she says. Maybe it's the teacher in her. :) Having a wife talk to you while playing video games or doing something you enjoy doing transforms her into that teacher from Charlie Brown.

2. Get sleep. As we know, when we are exhausted, we are worthless. Also, if you are a new parent, try not to close out a bar at 2:30 in the morning and expect to have a good time feeding your newborn in the middle of the night. Feeding a baby a bottle on no sleep and a few drinks makes even simple multitasking (watching tv while feeding the baby) a difficult one.

3. Expect your wife to be mad at you when she gets on a cleaning kick. She will expect you to clean 50 things at once. THIS IS NORMAL. If you can pull off bouncing around doing 3 jobs at once and eventually get them done, that will score major points for you. If it doesn't score you points, then you might as well go back to doing one thing at a time.

4. When I eat at a restaurant I'm focused on my wonderful food and drink, and the people directly in front of me. Sorry if I don't hear something important happening 10 feet away. I do wish I had this skill. Wife has used this "Super Power" to get things free for us, discounted admission, and inside information to help us. I am impressed with myself though. A couple of weeks ago I had a fun time listening to the totally clean conversation of a drunk couple a couple booths away.

5. Ladies, do you think hinting at something for your significant other will do anything for you? Remember, we already have a hard time multitasking. If you want us to focus on your problem or request, tell or ask us. It's not that we are not listening to you. It's totally the lack of multitasking, right guys?

6. Multitasking doesn't always save time. Sometimes we just want to do a job very well, hence the reason why we do one thing at a time. Who wants to go back and do it again if it's not done right?

7. Experience does improve the skills. I think back to the first years of being a teacher. How did two of my students make one of those telephones that reached across the room (cups and string) without my knowledge? Now, 11 years later, I know when each student even blinks. Proximity, and as my football coach used to say..."head on a swivel, head on a swivel". Now I can actually teach and take care of behavior problems without even stopping instruction. However, it took me at least 5-8 years to master this. It still cracks me up looking back to when I was a rookie.

8. Organization can help multitasking. Imagine that! Lists, notes, and schedules are a little OCD and nerdy. However, they work. If I don't make a list before going to the store, I usually forget something. At least I have a 7-eleven a block away.

9. Students.......if you all try to talk to me at the same time, I won't hear any of you. Kids, wife and friends, the same goes for you. One at a time, please. If you want to be heard, be sure no one is interrupting you.

10. Just because you're good at multitasking in certain realms, doesn't mean you're good at multitasking in others. For example, I'm very good at multitasking when it comes to reading and playing music. However, you ask me to talk on the phone and cook at the same time and this leads to something that tastes like back side of something. Doing something I enjoy doing also transforms me into a multitasker. :)

Yes, you've all probably made the observation that my multitasking issues have a lot to do with social interaction. True. However, isn't this the case most of the time with most people?

I do want to say that it is important in this day and age to not forget about your family. I get caught up in Facebooking, and playing games on my phone or whatever.  I see too many parents not putting everything into the interaction with their children. Not only is this lack of emotional connection debilitating for future relationships that they may have, but it will catch up with you later when you say "Where has the time gone?". Family and work are separate, remember that. As you should already know, your family is your first priority. Until next time y'all!

Here are a couple of fun links to test your multitasking skills. Of course, these are just games. It's a little different with real world tasks. :)