"I'm a great multi-tasker!"
As women, we tend to be proud of our ability to juggle 10 things at once, but it can lead to increased anxiety and rob our peace. With all the demands of modern womanhood and the constant buzz of technology, multi-tasking becomes our norm.
Even though men are doing more of their fair share in the home, women are usually still the domestic CEO. You are the one doling out tasks, monitoring the milk supply, and scheduling doctor visits. This CEO role is one of the reasons women have high levels of stress. You are acutely aware of all that needs to be done and are the one who makes sure it happens.
Monitoring these tasks takes up more space in your mind because your to-do list is never fully done. And uncompleted tasks take up more mental space than completed ones (in psychology we call it the Zeigarnik effect). Even if you cross 10 of the 15 items off your to-do list, those last 5 will nag at you, while the completed 10 will be forgotten...leaving you feeling perpetually behind.
Think of it this way, as a busy multi-tasking CEO, your brain is like a computer with 20 windows open and an endless parade of pop-ups ("Don't forget the dry cleaning!" "Did you schedule the dentist?!") No wonder your brain feels like it is going to crash!
Sister, you need a reboot! Daily. Here are 5 things you can today:
- Beat those mental pop-ups. Carry a little note card with you and write down those pop-up thoughts as they come up. Don't use your phone. It will be too easy to get sucked into checking email or Facebook. Writing down the "Oh crap, I need to remember to...." thoughts will get them out of your brain and onto a piece of paper you can refer to later when you can actually do something about it. Otherwise, they will keep popping up every time you try to quiet your mind. This also works for those racing thoughts that keep you tossing and turning at night. Keep that note card and pen by the bed. Don't even turn on the light. Just write it down for the next day.
- Mono-task. At least a few times a day. Have a no-phone dinner or family walk. Be where you really are and leave the guilt behind. Try driving without listening to a podcast or radio. Turn off the TV while cooking. It will feel weird at first, but it becomes very therapeutic. And, if those pop-up thoughts start coming up, write them on your note card
- Have complete reboot moments. Yoga and meditation are great for this. Really try to quiet your mind and just be in the moment.
- Appoint a co-CEO. Let go of one or two areas completely. Some of our CEO stress is a hell of our own making because we micromanage our families, employees, and helpers. If we insist that things be done our way, we can't let go, we demotivate those around us, and we miss out on finding a better way.
- Be in the now. Time is like a door that only lets in one event at a time. But, when we spend mental energy thinking about the future, we become overwhelmed and lose the present moment. If you find your mind wandering to the future, bring yourself back. You can let go. Most of the things you are anxious about won't happen anyways.
Try these today and see how they impact your state of mind. Even the most powerful multitasking CEO needs time to slow-down and reboot. In the end you'll be even more efficient for taking these slow moments.