Running with Rusniak: How to Multitask #LikeaBoss
by Sara Rusniak
20 Jan 2019
Technology is amazing. It allows us to connect more easily with people, access information more quickly, and automate much of our lives.
However, technology has its downsides, too. Excessive screen time is a concern for today’s youth—and employees. The full impact of staring at a computer screen for hours on end every day has yet to be determined. Some argue that it’s made us more sedentary and less healthy. Others believe it has negatively affected our psyches and our relationships by creating anxiety and jealousy as we compare ourselves to others based on what they share on social media.
For business owners, technology and social media can reap significant benefits for our bottom line. But they also bring the risk that even just one negative customer experience might spread like wildfire online and cause irreparable brand damage. Moreover, constant connectivity also threatens to overload and overwhelm us; we feel like we need to do multiple things at once and be at the beck and call of everyone all of the time.
The Struggle Is Real! How Can We Deal With These Challenges?
I believe the solution lies in seeking balance and moderation.
As a virtual solopreneur, I’m able to work at any time and from anywhere. This makes being a full-time mom to my two-year-old daughter possible. I can work from the comfort of my home when she sleeps and when I schedule babysitters to assist me; my availability is mine to choose.
But on the flip side, I don’t always find it easy to turn off my work. With the ability to sneak in 15 minutes here and 30 minutes there, when is it okay to decide not to be “on the clock?” I know I shouldn’t be working all of the time, but how can I not when it seems like everyone else is? The answer is to make choices that will allow me to achieve balance and moderation.
Is Multitasking the Answer?
Multitasking has become a signature approach for many busy professionals, including me. It’s how we juggle (or attempt to juggle) multiple priorities to try to get everything done. For example, I may download content to be posted to my clients YouTube accounts while I’m bookkeeping for someone else and listening to a thought leader’s latest podcast. At the same time, I may also be browning ground beef to prep a meal for my husband and running the dishwasher or the washing machine. All the while in the background, it’s likely the dog is barking to play fetch, and my two-year-old is playing dress up and wants my fashion advice.
It’s the best—and the worst—of both worlds. I’m fortunate to have no commute or daycare bill, and I get to share in all of my daughter’s childhood experiences. Still, on days that my phone won’t stop ringing and my toddler doesn’t agree with a thing I say, it’s a real struggle to feel that I’m giving every job (professionally and personally) the attention it deserves.
Can anyone perform more than one task actively, simultaneously, AND successfully? I think not. While we can devote ourselves to tackling multiple tasks at once, one eventually needs to be our primary focus.
Know When to Say “When” to Multitasking
If like me, you’re trying to stay ahead of feelings of burnout while keeping up with your professional and personal responsibilities, you’ll have to find a way to make multitasking work for you. You’ll need to occasionally step away from the office to decompress, recharge, and find the energy to come back renewed. My husband does this by working out and commits to never missing a session at the gym. As for me, one morning per week I carve out time (before my daughter wakes up) to binge-watch something on Netflix. On another morning each week, I connect with a friend over tea while our little ones play in the next room.
What makes the solopreneur dream work for me is finding balance and making it a priority. While I embrace technology and stay “plugged in” most of the day to ensure I’m responsive and come through on the myriad of deliverables I’ve promised, I take opportunities to put multitasking on hold. For example, when I’m on-site with a client or enjoying dinner with my family, I ignore distractions so that I can be fully present in the moment. It’s how I achieve the balance and moderation needed to do my best work for my clients and be the best mom and wife to my family.