Multitasking and the Rule of Three

I have always prided myself on my multitasking abilities. I give most of the credit to my mild case of ADD, which despite its name, Attention Deficit Disorder, actually means that I can pay attention to many things all at the same time. This has come in handy when running preschool and toddler classrooms (toddler in particular) as I am able to be aware of each little person, their whereabouts, and what they are about to get into. It has also been an indispensable skill as a busy mom, wife, business woman and blogger, but this past week even I hit my multitasking limit.

I think we can all agree that moms in particular have mastered or are in the process of mastering the ability to multitask, and even more impressively the ability to multitask one handed. We can soothe an upset little one while preparing dinner and figuring out what ten things need to be done next. I am sad to report that this skill, though highly useful, has its limits. One too many things going on at once, and I, the self proclaimed multitasking master, start dropping balls. Like this one:

A Vital Component to Travel and Safety...oops

A Vital Component to Travel and Safety…oops

Those would be my keys, on the ground, next to my car. After spending the morning making baby food, filling orders for clients, watching and playing with Baby E, packing for our weekend on the Cape  and getting myself ready for the day, at many times all at once, I stopped off at the shipping store on our way to music class. I needed to send some orders out and in my crazy rush to do it all, pulled this incredibly dumb move. I discovered my folly after frantically searching for my keys at the counter. I came close to having the clerk rip open each and every package I had just handed over to her in search of the keys before it dawned on me what I had done. While juggling getting E out of the car, grabbing the packages and my wallet, I had placed a few things on the ground, my keys being one of them. Luckily no one took me up on my subtle offer of a fully loaded 2012 Ford Edge, or  access to my house and mail, among other things.

I was also lucky that this is all I had managed to do. What if I had locked the keys in the car? Or Baby E in the car? Although it all turned out OK it was a good wake up call to slow down and focus on the big picture. At the end of each day, my family’s happiness, health and safety has to be the main priority, not getting as much done as possible in a 24 hour period. In light of this I established my Rule of 3. Unless dire circumstances ensue, I can only do three things max at the same time.

The plan is to start with the always useful but boring task of creating lists of all that needs to be done each week in each area of my life: My Faith, Baby E, My Business, My Blog, Family and Friends. I’ll pick three things to work on each day, and if I finish one, I can add on another. But I can’t have more than three going at once. If at the end of the week I find myself lacking in certain areas then I’ll know I need to put a higher priority on them in the future. My goal is to prioritize better, multitask less, and thus avoid the avoidable disasters.

Tomorrow is Day 1 of my Rule of 3 and this week is promising to be a busy one, with friends visiting, play dates, music and swim class and a March of Dimes walk among other things. Family first.

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