Mom’s Ability to Multitask: How To Manage Multiple Tasks

A mom’s ability to multitask, to juggle multiple tasks and to-dos every day is something that has to be cultivated. Yes, some people seem to have a special gift of multitasking well, but for most of us, it requires effort and strategy.

I have some pretty amazing friends who appear to be the definition of moms multitasking well. Sometimes I feel a little intimidated (or a lot intimidated, depending on the week) by their ability to multitask.

Taking the challenge, I’ve been studying up. I have noticed a few tricks of successful moms who are able to multitask, and some ideas for sneaking cardio in. By sharing them with you, maybe we’ll all be more motivated and successful in being healthier and more productive.

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The Ability to Multitask Requires Motivation and Planning

Start small, and pay attention to the results of your choices. With practice, we can make a habit of multitasking well. You will be able to figure out what actually works if you try.

Successfully completing a few things is a great source of motivation to do the next thing, as are planned rewards.

Sunshine and pool/beach trips give me more energy and motivation to do things and to be active than those rainy days do. But, even at that, finding ways of sneaking cardio into my daily routines can be difficult.

Find your motivation, and see where it leads.

How To Manage Multiple Tasks Well

Knowing how to manage multiple tasks requires a certain amount of strategy. Because you can only juggle tasks that fit well. And no matter what, there are 24 hours in a day, and you need about a third of those for sleep, right?

These are the rules I follow for when I need to manage multiple tasks at the same time. They’ve really helped me, and I hope they help you too!

Rule 1: Choose Wisely-Don’t Compete for Resources

Not pairing activities that compete for the same resources is very important. You can multitask One thing that requires Brainpower, with One thing that is more of an Autopilot project-manual or repetitive, requiring much less concentration. For instance, washing the dishes while connecting with your husband or kid, is doable, when it’s a positive conversation. But I wouldn’t recommend balancing your checkbook while having that heart-to-heart chat. It won’t work. Both require too much concentration and focus.

Listening to something fun, whether music or an audiobook, can make basic chores or yardwork fly by. This allows a safe distraction but may be too much if your main task is very intricate or word-related, like homework. Snuggling next to my little guy while he naps, and creating this post on my laptop, those two things go very well together, showing that you can manage multiple tasks, if you choose the right ones.

Rule 2: Planning for Intervals-Fit Tasks Like Puzzle Pieces

For instance, Laundry. There are natural intervals while clothes are in the washer and in the dryer (and have you noticed that they never run the same length of time?!!!). Taking advantage of those intervals to accomplish other chores or schoolwork (or writing a blog post?), so that you’re being productive while waiting to be able to move or fold the laundry, is not only good planning, it’s a prime example of how moms juggle tasks all the time! So watch for those things that have natural intervals of waiting, and plan short jobs to fill in the gaps. That is an easy way to take advantage of the ability to multitask, without too much difficulty.

Rule 3: Sneak Physical Activity in Anywhere it Will Fit!

This one takes some creative thinking. It’s entirely possible but takes patience and consistency. Whether you’re “bench-pressing” the toddler (or having his help with weighted superman stretches), or sweeping up, you can get some good movement going.

Why Do We Even Need to Consider Sneaking Physical Activity In?

Some of our modern ‘conveniences’ are incredibly helpful, and I am blessed to live now, with so many resources available to benefit me physically (A/C, Automatic Washers, Refrigerators, etc), and mentally (TV, Smartphones…) but can easily be more likely to enable laziness, or at least lack of movement. We then need to be creative in finding ways of sneaking cardio in, and toning, and general activity.

I admire those with a naturally active lifestyle. One of my favorite book series is Past Forward. In Volume 1, Bill, the financial advisor/city guy, is frustrated at how he works all day in the office, then must manufacture ‘work’ to stay fit: treadmill, weights, etc. while Willow, the main character, runs a small farm and naturally has cardio, strength training, and toning throughout her daily routine.

And of course, The Ingalls never had to manufacture work. Laura Ingalls and the others on the prairie were naturally so active that exercise was a non-issue.

When Multitasking Invites Cardio

One of my favorite ways to juggle tasks like relationships and exercise, is playing with my son. He and I will go out in the yard when the weather is nice, and kick the ball around, or play tag. We usually last about 15 minutes, before we’re both ready to be done. But in that 15 minutes, there is quite a bit of cardio, and even more relationship building and bonding. Memories made like this will last a lifetime. Because Mom had time to play.

Also, our kitchen has two archways into the living room, as well as an island. If you are picturing the floor from above, we basically have a blocky figure-8 pathway. One rainy evening last winter, we decided to go for a walk while waiting for daddy to get home. We actually walked that figure 8 for 30 minutes, laughing and talking and singing the whole time, and HE DIDN’T GET BORED!! (talk about a win!)

Since then, we’ve done that many times. Sometimes walking, sometimes running (Yes, I allow running in the house!), sometimes chasing, sometimes racing. It’s fun, bonding, and I get to burn calories. We will go anywhere from 5-30 minutes depending on interest that day. But my favorite part, since I have a Step Counter, was the day I happened to check my stats before I started, and again at the end. I ran a full mile, in loops around the kitchen, in 14 minutes. Now that was a great memory, and inspiration on days when its rainy or the no-see-ums and mosquitos are out.

free multitasking workbook. a 7 page printable strategy session to walk you through how to manage multiple tasks in your everyday life

Free Printable Workbook to Help You Manage Multiple Tasks

It’s time to make it personal. You juggle tasks all the time, but now it’s time to be strategic, and work through the logistics that apply to YOUR life. I’ve created a printable workbook that will help you process the rules above, and learn the best way for you to manage multible tasks that you face on a regular basis.

There are pages to write in the tasks you deal with in each category, a page for creating task pairs, and some pages for evaluating how it went. The best part of evaluating, is cheering your successes, and planning how to do better with the ones that didn’t work. Maybe a different pairing? Maybe you need a little prep work before that pair gets started?

Click here to download the workbook.

Do You Believe It’s Possible To Juggle Multiple Tasks Well?

If you do a quick search on Pinterest, multitasking is not portrayed in a positive light. There are all kinds of infographics with statistics on how harmful and counterproductive it is. But I find that they are not considering the idea of how to juggle multiple tasks the same way I do.

Moms, and everyone really, must learn how to manage multiple tasks all the time. It’s just a part of life. We just have to be strategic, and purposeful in how we multitask.

I have said often since I was about 12 years old, that one of the prerequisites to getting your learner’s permit for driving, should be a test for the ability to multitask. Think about it for a minute: If there were absolutely NO distractions inside your car, you still have to focus on:

  • Knowing your route
  • Watching for hazards in front of you
  • Watching for speeders behind you
  • Tracking your speed, against the posted limits
  • Swerving cars
  • Pedestrians
  • Traffic signals/signs
  • How much fuel you have
  • And so many other things.

If you can’t juggle tasks, you’ll never be able to handle driving safely. Or many other parts of life.

Do you have any rules or tips for how to juggle multiple tasks well? Or examples of when it has (Or has NOT) worked successfully for you? Please share them with us, so we can all benefit.

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