The science shows how multitasking isn’t really a thing. Our brains switch quickly from one task to another, yet we are never simultaneously thinking about two separate things at the exact same moment.
So it doesn’t make sense to try to live like we are able to multitask.
Leading a more balanced life isn’t about having two items on the same scale and weighing them equally. It is about only having one item on the scale and allowing it to weigh in fully.
I describe this with the metaphor of boxes. Think of all the important areas of your life, like work, family, personal goals, etc, each as their own box. In the ‘family box’ are all the activities that are required for a good, healthy family life.
The key is only having one box open at a time to play in fully and recognising you need to carefully put the lid on one box and store it before pulling out and opening the next.
This mental act of putting the box away signifies the space between, also termed the ‘third space’ by Dr Adam Fraser. It is the space between two different tasks/areas of your life, where you reset yourself. In this space between you release all that was going on with the first box, into that box and close the lid. Then ready to be fully present you can open your next box.
I have found and have coached people in using this tool which has proved extremely helpful in stressful situations. When working on the stressful item, open the box and be fully in that box working on the task to effectively work through it, but when it is time to put it away pack it up fully so you don’t take it with you into other areas of your life.
Another consideration is how often each box is coming out.
It isn’t healthy to spend most of your time in the ‘online world box’ and only short amounts in the ‘sleep box’. Nor can you spend all your time in the ‘work box’ and little in the ‘family box’.
But special projects do come along in life and one box may be out more often than the others for a while. As long as it is balanced in the long run this is healthy. For example, you may have a large work or personal project you are pouring yourself into for a couple months. But in doing so you know you will dedicate more time to the family later such as scheduling a vacation.
To be mindful, present and find more simplicity in these crazy times:
Keep one box open at a time.
Mentally put away the box before opening the next.
Ensure over the medium to longer term all boxes are opened regularly.
P.S. If you want a ‘social media box’ have one but don’t take it to dinner with you and open it at the table.