When is multi-tasking just not paying attention to anything?

6 Feb

And there goes the red one...I don’t mean multi-tasking in the paid work sense, of course. Multi-tasking in the work sense makes sense (‘sense’ twice in that sentence is deliberate, by the way, not because I am multi-tasking) because it is essentially all work.  While you may be looking after a wide variety of projects throughout the day, throughout the hour, or even, at trying (‘challenging’) times, throughout the minute, the end is the same – working for the good of the organisation who pays the bills (and, more critically, funds the coffee addiction).

No, here I refer to the kind of multi-tasking that sees you perched on the loo writing a text message while trying to sew a Cubs badge back on; or that sees you pulling your tights on while changing a fuse. Predictive text, I must add, has introduced a giant potential ‘fail’ into multi-tasking of this nature. It is remarkably easy accidentally to communicate an insult when you were trying to write ‘idiom’ (as often I do when texting, naturally). And worse, but this is a family blog.

Because this multi-tasking always leads to something going appallingly wrong. You sew yourself to the loo and drop your phone down it when you attempt to call for help, for instance; or put your finger on a live wire (and don’t scoff, I did that, just recently, cleaning under the shoe tidy while simultaneously fixing the phone base station) and ladder your tights as a result.

And also, where kids are involved, it can never work. My belated New Year’s resolution is that I will not try and do something not-L-related while doing something L-related at the same time. I cringe with shame when they’re telling me something and my phone beeps and I lose the next four sentences. The message can wait, when I’m with them – much as I love to be constantly-contactable (and I do, let’s be honest, I do, in a love-hate ‘I’ve eaten too much Chinese takeway but it was bloody lovely so…’ kind of way) – because grown-ups, whatever my relationship with them, will understand or even expect the delay, but the Ls won’t be full of enthusiasm to tell me about Mary Seacole for ever, and that is what I need to prioritise and embrace.


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