160A few days ago, I was sitting at the table talking to Will about kindergarten, checking facebook on my phone, watching Ellie out of the corner of my eye hiding behind a chair (this is how she poops now, hiding behind a chair for privacy. The parents reading will understand this), and I had breakfast on the stove. I was the definition of multi-tasking. I am super mom, hear me roar! So, why then, do I feel crummy about it?

Have you noticed how much we value multi-tasking in this country? At work, one must be a good multi-tasker. It is a standard interview question now, “Are you a good multi-tasker? Give us an example of a time….”. We have become obsessed with how much can you get done in the least amount of time. We all have so much going on in our lives and it seems like we never have enough time to get it all done.

But at what cost?

When you are doing 4 things at 1 time, chances are, you are not doing any of them very well. I probably wasn’t giving Will the attention he deserved, I certainly could have used the opportunity with Ellis to get her to sit on the potty, and I probably over cooked the sausage. I really nailed my facebooking though!

Multi-tasking has become such an obsession that I actually now find it harder to uni-task than to multi-task. How often are you just truly engaged and focused on the task at hand? Go to a park and look around. You’ll see mom’s every where on their phones. Go to a bar and look at a group of friends. They are all probably ‘checking in’ and tagging each other and seeing where everyone else is and…. You get my point. We are never ‘just where we are and with who we are with’.

People hearing their text message alert while they are in the middle of a conversation is the human equivalent to the movie UP where the dog goes, “Squirrel!”

As a parent with young children I feel like this is my chance to teach them a valuable life lesson. If I don’t want to raise kids that stare down at their phones while they talk to me, I can’t do that to them. I don’t want to teach my kids that getting a lot of things done is more important than the quality of what you create.

I want to teach my kids that it is possible to prioritize their lives in a way so that everything that is important can get done.

Time is not our enemy, WASTING time is our enemy. A lack of prioritizing is our enemy. A lack of consciousness is our enemy. (more to come on our relationship with big bad TIME)

My first step is to identify my ‘drifts’. In other words, the things that I do that suck me out of consciousness. Things like facebook, television, alcohol, staying up too late and subsequently sleeping in too late. Once you know the things that cause you to drift, you can be more aware of when it’s happening. This doesn’t mean I am giving up TV; I am certainly not giving up alcohol! But, I’m going to try not to slip into these drifts without consciousness.

And I am going to practice my uni-tasking! If I am with the kids, I’m going to put the phone away and focus on them because they deserve it. If I am writing, I am going to go somewhere away from the kids and television because I deserve that. If we are eating, we are only going to be eating (no phones, no televisions) because my family deserves that. If I am out with my husband, I will keep the phone in my purse and focus on him because he deserves it.

I am going to start valuing uni-tasking as a skill. “Name a time when you focused on one thing and did a great job”

What about you? How do you drift?