General Organizing | Kids/Families | Living Simply

Why Multitasking Can Make You Feel Less Organized

Laura Coufal

About Laura

I  am a Southern California girl – turned small-town, Midwest Mom. I am wife to Bruce and mom to my three girls.

Back when I first started my professional organizing journey in 2013, I had what I thought of as a dirty little secret. I have ADHD and although I am organized, and enjoy the process of sorting, and tidying. I knew that there were many others with ADHD who really struggled with staying organized. I had a case of imposter syndrome and mostly kept the fact that I had ADHD to myself. That is until I learned that there are other really successful professional organizers who have also learned to compensate for their ADHD the same way that I have.

I eventually realized that my need for order and simplicity actually stems from having ADHD as a way to compensate for my short attention span. So my gifts and my challenges are all ironically tied together to create who I am,  and I am able to relate to and help others as a result of this coping method that I have developed for myself.

I help women and moms with ADHD, but I also help those who struggle with clutter without having ADHD.  Because simplicity and less clutter are always at the heart of staying organized, there is much overlap when it comes to finding solutions to clutter and disorganization.

I am dedicated to keeping my life as simple as possible and to helping others do the same by teaching them how to declutter their homes, simplify their lives, and manage their busy families better.

I have been helping others stay organized since 2013.

It is my deepest hope that you will find resources here that will bring you closer to living a simpler, more intentional, and more peaceful life. 

always have

something

beautiful 

in your space…

…but let it be

as simple

as a daisy

in a vase.

 

Trying to multitask too much can leave you feeling less organized.

As mothers, we pride ourselves on our ability to multitask. And it is believed that women are better than men at multitasking. The more we can juggle, the better we are at being moms, right? This just isn’t true and studies show that women are no better than men at multitasking. The ability to quickly switch back and forth from task to task is the same in both genders. It’s just that moms do it more often.

Anyone who has ever been a mom knows that it is impossible to never have to multitask. One could say that it goes with the job title. But it is better to limit multitasking as much as possible rather than look for ways to do it more. The reasons why are listed below.

Being good at multitasking doesn’t equal being more organized.

It is also a myth that the better you are at multitasking, the more organized you are. In fact, the opposite is true. There are two reasons for this; First, the amount of peace in our lives is reduced when we try to do too many things at one time for a prolonged period. 

The second reason we are likely to feel less organized is that when we do several things at once, we do them less accurately. As result, we make more mistakes, which will often leave us feeling flustered and less efficient.  When we focus on doing just one thing at a time, we can focus better on the task at hand. Not only can we do what we are doing more peacefully, but we do it more effectively as well.  

We are better listeners when were not multitasking.

Talking on the phone today is an activity we often do while doing something else. Gone are the days of sitting in the kitchen talking on the phone. Our mobility used to be restricted by the short cord attached to the wall. Now we can use our phones anywhere and we often do it while driving, working, or even shopping.  

But, the person we are talking with deserves our full attention and we are going to be better listeners if we are not busy doing something else at the same time. This is also true for moms. We don’t listen to our children as well when we are only half listening and half doing something else.

 

multitasking mom

When we multitask we actually work at a slower rate.

Another thing to consider is that when we make mistakes, we end up spending more time correcting the problem than we would have if we had done the job correctly the first time.  

It also takes our brains more time to continuously switch back and forth from task to task. Especially if we are spending time figuring out where we left off. If we can give our full attention to what we are doing at the present moment, we’ll often get it done faster and more accurately.    

Multitasking is mentally draining. 

Our brains cannot actually perform several tasks at a time. Our brains only have a finite amount of energy to use, and Neuroscientists have found that switching from task to task depletes it more quickly. This comes at a cost that ends up making us feel tired much more quickly than if we focus our attention on one thing at a time.

When we multitask, we are more likely to be frazzled and worn out from juggling several tasks at a time all day long.  At the end of the day, we have less energy to be more attentive and patient with our families. 

Do less multitasking and more task pairing.

It is important to distinguish between multitasking and task pairing. In other words, getting two things done with a single action. Task pairing can help us be more productive and save us time, and this is a good thing. 

This is the same as killing two birds with one stone. For example, knocking out two or three errands in one trip downtown. This is not multitasking; rather it is simply making good use of your time and energy – not to mention gasoline.

Another example is placing multiple things that need to go upstairs into a basket on the bottom step. By doing this, the next time you’re going upstairs, you can take it all up at once. Performing food prep by cooking a large portion of ground beef to freeze for several meals is another helpful task pairing activity.  Because your browing meat for several meals at one time, this is a real time saver. 

Think about your day and how you get things done, then mindfully consider how you can multitask less and task-pair more.

Instead of attempting to multitask, get in the habit of batching your tasks instead.

If you’re having trouble resisting the urge to engage in more than one task at a time, try scheduling similar tasks together and setting a time to handle them, such as checking emails only from 10:00 to 11:00 each day. By doing this, you can free your mind from the temptation to keep checking it throughout the day when you are busy with other tasks.

Simple is the secret to staying organized.

The more you can simplify your home and your schedule the more organized you will feel. This is the real secret to staying organized. So rather than thinking you need to get better at multitasking to keep up, see how you can simplify things at home and in your schedule instead. 

Factors such as the number of things you own and maintain, how full your schedule is, and how idealistic your expectations are, all play a part in making life more complicated.  Consider what you can let go of or simplify to make life easier for yourself.  You don’t always have to take the more difficult route to be a good mom.

If buying cupcakes rather than baking them will help you feel less frustrated and frazzled, then that is the better choice. Because at the end of the day, you’ll have more energy for your family. This is always better than impressing others with your culinary skills at the cost of your sanity.

Take a critical eye to your schedule and consider which activities are truly worth your time and energy. Eliminate those that aren’t and be cautious about what you say YES to.

Planning ahead can also be a big difference-maker in helping you feel organized.

Developing helpful habits that your family can practice will also go a long way in helping you to feel more organized and in control at home. Keep in mind that it is always simpler to keep up than to have to catch up. Taking time to plan your week in advance will also make a big difference in helping you to feel organized.

NOT multitasking will make you a better mother.

If you focus on completing one task at a time and take time to breathe, you will do things faster and more efficiently. You will get more done, feel more in control, and less frazzled. More importantly, you will have more patience and energy for your family. So NOT multitasking can actually help us to be better mothers, not the other way around.

 

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