Multi-tasking prevents living in the moment

Multi-tasking prevents living in the moment

by Andrea KempEditor in Chief

I wish I could tell you I was writing this column completely focused on you, the reader. But I’m not. At this very moment, I am simultaneously working on the newspaper, listening to my iPod, talking to two graphic designers and going through the running list of things I plan to do if and when I ever leave the Simpsonian lab.

This is nothing out of the ordinary. At any given time, I am never doing just one thing. I am a victim of chronic multi-tasking, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Hardly any activity in my day is not done in tandem with another, ranging from the completely asinine to the more major.

I can be driving in my car, lumbering along the road so as not to be late for a meeting, but not without also calling my sister, getting the low down on the comfort level of her newest Ikea mattress.

Eating a meal? Not unless I’m also either checking my e-mail, seeing who wants to Vampire Bite me on Facebook or getting my life-saving dosage of “The Golden Girls.” Sitting in class? Sure, I may be trying to listen, but I’m also writing anywhere from one to three “to-do” lists, located on anywhere from the menagerie of Post-Its that catalog my life to the close-at-hand (literally) location of my palm (for such important memos as “buy gas,” “pay rent” or “get Diet Coke.”)

At any given time, the gears in my mind are churning in a range of directions, mostly unrelated. Chronic multi-tasking has infiltrated my cranium, without limits and, often, with no “off” switch.

I find myself sitting in the Simpsonian lab working on the paper, checking my e-mail and streaming “Dirty.Sexy.Money” off the ABC full episode-casting site before I realize that my mind and body are occupying not one but three computer monitors.

Sadly enough, I often find myself multi-tasking out of sheer habit. Just last week I stopped myself mid-shower when I realized I was copy-editing the back of my shampoo bottle.

This is not a sympathy plea. I took on this obsessive-compulsive habitual trait at the beginning of my senior year when I realized that my workload would not allow me to just simply breeze through one task at a time.

I will also admit that I’ve come to the point where, if my mind doesn’t have 30 things to do it sort of stalls like one of those toy cars that needs to be wound up before it can spin in jagged circles.

Still, as a senior, I realize that this is a year I will remember forever and, with any luck, won’t ever repeat again. That is why I am now vowing to (try to) multitask less. It’s time for me to take things one at a time.

It’s time to get a life. Just one. Because, really, just how normal is it to find yourself brushing your teeth, swiffering your bathroom tiles and perfecting that “standing tree” yoga pose all at the same time?