I was watching a video this morning about simplifying life, trying to figure out where I put that idea down and walked away from it. I’m curious how other people put life goals into words, and this person had a thoughtful, practical list. What stood out for me was her term for something I’ve struggled with the last few months. I guess I could have guessed there would be a term for it. Task-switching.
It’s not multi-tasking. I don’t. I can’t. I used to. Nope. I’m remembering to drink my tea in between sentences here, and that’s as far as that goes. Task-switchers do one thing at a time, but they jump around too much, too fast, too often. My task-switching mind is frankly out of control and wearing me out.
Part of the problem is the gig economy, even though I like/love my jobs. I try to designate days they will occupy, but the emails crossover, the meetings jump the fence, and my own thoughts run screaming from job to job out of habit. And each switch requires putting aside a ton of thoughts and knowledge before picking up, however briefly, a whole other huge set of thoughts and knowledge.
This is not conducive to creative time and space, is it? Nope. Each job has a variety of tasks and projects, did I mention that? It’s all cramming my brain like that hall closet no one should ever, ever open. Like the ship’s cabin scene in the Marx Brothers’ Night at the Opera. (Watch it if you haven’t. Have a laugh at the highly organized absurdity. Any similarities between it and actual lives is intentional and to be noted.)
As we switch into February, I am going to focus on cutting out the task-switching. This is probably going to involve doing less for, and thinking less about, my jobs, and yet still insisting to myself that I am a good enough person. That’s the other part: I’m driven to task-switch by inner messages I should not listen to.
It’s also going to involve a good switch in perception. Did you ever suddenly realize that your perception of something was creating an actual obstacle in your life? I realized recently that I never reward myself for writing practice, because I perceive my practice AS the reward. For getting everything else done to everyone else’s satisfaction and in their best interest, thus justifying the writing time I am then too tired to enjoy. Whoops. May I just say that? Whoops.