Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Living the Moment & Multitasking

Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Work 6p-8a--154#

Today an internet friend posed a question to me that he had asked before, "Seriously, how do you make the time for everything?" A while back I explained to him that I really don't do that much; it just seems like it, but when he reposed the question, I did what I do each time I come across a question for the second time (be it a question from a friend or a patient who presents for the second time in a day or two), I revisit it from several different angles to make sure that I didn't miss something the first time around. As I was standing in the breakroom pouring some water, heating some tea in the microwave and cleaning off the counter, it hit me that multitasking is how I do what I do. I cruise the 'net while I snuggle with my honey and my puppy as we watch a movie on the couch. In the background, the washer and dryer are going, and I'm keeping my ears open for them to stop and signal a changing of the wash. Occasionally, I'll have a text conversation going with one friend or another while all the rest of this is floating along. Even now, I'm typing this as I wait for my labs on my patients and talk to the maintenance man about the sketchy doctor across the street (apparently he was "counseling" a patient's mother here at 0130 and got caught by our maintenance/security guy). I think the double X chromosomes mandate this kind of behavior. Undoubtedly the ladies reading this post will think, "Well, yeah, throw in a few kids with their homework, an elderly cohabitating parent and cooking dinner, and you've got my world." The men, however, are less likely to identify with this type of multitasking. They simply are not hardwired for it. Please don't mistake this for man-bashing. The linear way men think versus the branching way that women think is documented. But is one way of thinking actually better than the other?

As mentioned before, one of my perpetual pursuits is living to the best of my ability. For me, this means making the most of every moment while ensuring to the best of my ability that I will have as many productive moments as possible. Some would say that multitasking certainly seems to make the most of any given minute, but lately I actually have begun to try to multitask less. In my reading over the last year or so, I have come across wisdom from several different sources, most prominently from the Dalai Lama, that addresses the inability to truly live in a moment if we are constantly spreading our focus over several tasks. The concept is to fully place one's awareness in one thing so that the one thing can be fully engaged and enjoyed. Only by doing this are we really making the most of the moments spent with that one thing. Certainly, some aspects of our lives require that we multitask. The ED would come to a screeching halt if the doc did only one thing at a time. Other aspects, however, deserve our full attention as often as we can give it. Now, when I talk with someone I care about, either on the phone or in person, if I can, I stop everything else that I'm doing and truly listen to what that person is saying and pose interested and pertinent questions or responses. If I am with that person, I try to frequently look them in the eye. If I'm not, I think about what they're facial expressions would be as they speak. Now when I sit down to eat, I put away the phone and quit worrying about the rest of my day. Instead, I sit and enjoy the company and make sure I actually taste what I'm eating, fully experiencing all the texture and flavor. When I find myself on a fun road, I turn up the music, drop it down a gear and go.

Focusing fully on one thing is more difficult than it sounds, and I am far from mastering this skill. I have found, though, that it really does make life more enjoyable. I find that I seldom ask anyone to repeat themselves anymore, and I feel more connected to my loved ones, even after our conversations are long since over. I now suspect that maybe it wasn't that my husband had stopped giving me googley eyes. Maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention to see them. (Or I guess it could be a little of both ;) ). I can even follow the plot of a movie and laugh at all the jokes now. It's amazing how much more interesting a movie can be when I pay attention. And snuggling has definitely been upgraded by setting the laptop aside. So, maybe I do get a lot done, but I'm learning to accomplish more where it counts.

5 rounds of the following:
30 sec pull-ups assisted with the green and black bands
30 sec push-ups
30 sec of box jumps
30 sec low plank
2 pistols assisted with a door-facing/side.
1 min rest.

Then...5 double 12kg snatches starting at the top of the minute.

Changes to make to this workout at some point... I need to ditch the black band and start working with just the green. I won't be able to go with that for a full 30 sec, so I might have to just do partials...I'll have to think about this. I need to take about 10 sec of rest away from that snatch regimen and do 5 reps every 50 sec. I think that will be about right.


  1. Really well put, Jennifer. I'm so happy I took the time to really read, and not just scan, what you wrote.

  2. i like the box jumps!

    i would also, like to state for the record, that i am a multi-tasking machine. that's all i'm saying...

  3. Leslie,
    Thank you--for the compliment and for consistently dropping by to see what I have to say. :)

    You, sir, are the reason I even do box jumps. And somehow it doesn't surprise me that you are a multitasking machine. And yet, somehow, you don't even remotely have a whiff of an extra X chromosome.

  4. u forget my awesomely amazing fashion sense...