ASK HEATHER: IS MULTI-TASKING HEALTHY FOR WRITERS?

 
by Heather Covington
 
Based on a Disilgold SOUL Magazine Survey of ten random people this week in lieu of responding to the question, “Is multi-tasking healthy for writers?,” I was able to acquire feedback from those who write for a living from secretarial and journalism to editing and publishing. The results will shock you. Most people think they are actually efficient when multi-tasking, but many people will admit that multi-tasking distracts them from performing one task with efficiency, and thus leading to stress which can lead to health problems and mistakes. Upon researching the cause for mental breakdown when people multi-task, I discovered that the body builds adrenaline to over compensate for over-reactions. When you multi-task this is interpreted as not only an over-reaction, but body shock.  Within a split second of digressing fro one task to another task, your mind has to readjust and very much like starting a race. This constant stop and go without a literal warm up and cool down sends your body into survival mode. Sure you gain a rush of energy, but before the day is over, the multi-tasker has accomplished everything, but what one was originally focused on which can lead to more stress. The problem is that multi-taskers do not know they are stressed. Well, I further researched how to tell if you are stressed. Ask yourself five questions and be honest. Have you stopped to breathe? Do you relax when eating a meal or rush to complete more tasks? Do you find yourself slowing down just as soon as you got started? Can you stop and do nothing for at least 10 minutes. I mean really move away from your work and just do nothing? And finally, have you forgotten all about the things that make you really happy like taking an early morning stroll, exercising and even a power nap to refuel. And I have to add a bonus question myself. Do you trust yourself to stop a task and complete it on another day or perhaps in a week or several months later? If you answered no to any of these questions, more than likely you are stressed and it’s all due to the number one culprit, multi-tasking. So how do you break out of the multi-tasking mode? It’s simple. Plan and organize your day in the same plan book as a teacher uses to teach her students. Set a time frame for each task, focus and execute that task. Begin to understand what you can and cannot humanly accomplish to avoid over planning. Keep tasks short, sweet and simple. Give yourself a cheat day to multi-task like on a weekend because more than likely you will experience slight anxiety and withdrawal from your normal routines, but hang in there. You’re going to enjoy life more and things will resume to normal just as you thought your multi-task life was eating away at things like your personality, human spirit and ability to laugh, not take yourself so seriously and take risks exploring better ways to be more efficient. You’ll want to also, reward yourself for accomplishing small tasks like eating a power snack. From all of the people I interviewed, some were texting  on their phone while drinking coffee and others eating a bagel while writing in notepad. All I am saying is savor each task and most of all enjoy it.  It’s impossible to enjoy life when you’re multi-tasking like an octopus with a big ole’ head ready to explode. Remember that picture of an octopus every time you get ready to multi-task and ask yourself, do you want to look like that? Feel free to share your tips o multi-tasking to Disilgold@aol.com.
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