I REFUSE to multitask my life away any more!

by Helene Malmsio

It had to be said sooner or later!

This rah-rah about 'multitasking' that we have all striven to achieve the past 20+ years is well and truly over rated!

We have become experts at 'busy work' and juggling so many tasks at once that nothing has our TOTAL CONCENTRATION, and very few things get completed to our satisfaction.

IS... "good enough, good enough" just to meet the demand that you multitask your way through your life?

One thing I also find lacking when multitasking many tasks/projects all at once is that we don't get the same joy of accomplishment when we complete something that we sweated blood to get done, because when 'its done' and crossed off the list, we have to immediately flicker over to the other half baked project we were also working on that day/week/month.

There was no satisfying 'closure' or feeling of milestones achieved... or even of a tiny "Job Well Done" celebratory kind of pause for catching a breath before turning your full attention to the next project to tackle that is in mid-air juggle still.

Just simply crossing something off a long to-do list is not as gratifying!

Even something as basic as cleaning house should be a job that is done with clear focus, completed to your satisfaction, and celebrated with a cup of tea and your feet up for a few minutes when its done, just surveying how nice it now looks.

Not half-hearted fiddle farted around with, between taking and making phone calls, and blogging, and reading email, and cooking something, making lists and and and and... it never all gets done that way, does it?

Just try doing ONE THING AT A TIME and paying attention to doing the job effectively, thoroughly, and quickly.

You will be amazed by how much more you actually get done, and how much better you do it, when you focus like that. *Satisfaction*

Our Grandparents and their generation would have died from stress if they had lived under our pressure and the never ending DEMANDS put on us in every single day of our stressful lives ... it is simply not a natural pace and not healthy for anyone.

Their generation would have had meltdowns and breakdowns not being able to stop and start naturally from one thing to the next.

They could not have coped with the never ending sense of failure, frustration and sense of incompleteness that we have hanging over our heads.

There are never enough hours in the day, we say.
Instead we should realise that you can only juggle so many balls at once, you CANNOT do everything you wish you could because its expected of you ... so stop beating yourself up!!!

Get real, people!

There is a natural pace of life, and there are the Seasons, and we are on a planet, in a system, in a dimension, that encourages you to live your life "in the flow" and not as though you are a distressed and very reluctant part of Quantum physics, for goodness sakes!!!!

How many dimensions and places in how many time frames can you be in at the one time? Some of us have tried to find that out the hard way - *sigh*

And what really sucks is that after all that stress to impress ourselves and our team about how we can 'Do it all - Have it all' it just turns out that no one is any longer in awe of our ability to get all these things done at the one time, it is just EXPECTED of you nowadays!!

There are no more brownie points or praises for being Superwoman any more.

One friend of mine has spent the last 12 months emotionally dealing with the aftermath of a messy divorce, doggedly plowing her way through $70k plus of old debt left to her, finding the money to put two kids through expensive private school, run a household packed to the rafters with kids/carpool/holidays/stuff and DIY a dilapidated but much loved home, stressing about her Dad's illness & dealing with his family issues, repairing her gas guzzling car, while worrying about one health issue after another, and taking herself and her kids through much needed counseling and then being able to craft a beautiful, happy and wonder-filled new life for herself and her loving family.

Oh, and all while she is single-handedly running and writing for a $100k pa home based online business, slaying some of that debt monster, just about totally refurnishing and even getting major repairs done to her home, buying a new car, all the while spoiling her kids and mother to death and even taking them on holiday trips... go girl!

But guess what!?!?!?!
In a post this week, she admitted to feeling a bit of a failure this year because somehow she had still not found the motivation or focus to WRITE YET ANOTHER NEW NOVEL in between doing all of this!!!!

She saw it as a problem of FEAR in her writing process etc etc etc ... BUT I see it as a problem of only having 24 hours a day and one life to live.

As part of the multitasking culture, kind friends were suggesting that she just 'set aside an hour a day' in-between her other multiple daily tasks and livelihood work, towards writing the Great American Novel... well, writing a novel like that would surely not work for me!

What an overachiever - crazy woman! - I love you, but....

Get. Real. And. Give. Yourself. Some. Time. To Breathe.

And on another note, I believe that our standard of work has suffered from all this excessive multitasking effort.

I don't care how much I'm told to get used to 'good enough is good enough'.... NOT ALWAYS!

I want to ENJOY having a sense of completion, savour my satisfaction that I did it well, and I want to 'be in the moment' when I do things, even chores I don't particularly want.

And there are so many basic things and skills in life that I believe have suffered, because people (especially the current younger generation) are so FRACTURED in their focus and they seem unable to concentrate on anything longer than the attention span of a goldfish, that they simply have not focused long enough on anything to even learn BASIC LIFE SKILLS!!!

They can't read, write, speak, be gracious, don't really know how to concentrate long enough to even complete a sentence, never mind a long task. Focusing long enough to hold a job and earn a good livelihood is going to be beyond most of them.

They have a short fuse with nothing but road rage and physical violence to deal with their frustration that nothing happens fast enough or big enough for them.

They envy their friends FB posts of holidays and the trapping of so called success, rather than define their own ideas of success and then work towards them.

They want everything, and they want it now, and they definitely do not want to 'work' for any of it.

Impatience and intolerance are their traits from what I can see.

And I don't think we have all bred an entire generation of A.D.D. sufferers. Drugging them will not fix this problem.

I think that we have just shown them by our example, how NOT to live a MINDFUL life. We taught them to be this way.

Our overachieving and multitasking expectations of what our lives should be, our achievements, our impatience that we haven't 'got it all' no matter how hard we try, our ANGER and frustration has been their example.

Its us to us now to fix our lives and live by a better example so that they can learn what we USED TO KNOW and used to do in living our lives mindfully.

Do. It. One. Step. At. A. Time.

Get stuff done - completed - but do it mindfully.

Enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.

I suggest that we stop juggling too many balls in the air every wretched stressfull day, and instead focus on maybe 3 tasks that you need to get done, well done, in a day.

The rest can be 'Like to do' things that are a bonus if you have the time to mindfully complete those too.

Let everyone around you learn that you do have a life to live, a flow, a natural timeframe you operate within.

And you will still give the proverbial 110% when it is genuinely required, but not every. single. day!!

(Lord how I hate that ridiculous term... to *give 110 percent*!!! What knob of a Consultant came up with that bit of horror to make everyone feel totally inadequate? What a perfect example of what all this multi-tasking totally UNREALISTIC twaddle is about!!!!)

As a result, we have nearly killed ourselves trying to do the impossible, and taught our kids and grand kids to NOT EVEN BOTHER TRYING!!!!!

For the kids and the people who never stopped to focus long enough to learn these basic life skills, may I humbly suggest that in 2015 you:

Take time to, and make the effort to, learn how to spell, people.

Learn how to speak correctly, at least try to make sure you can be understood, not talking gibberish.

It is not good enough to write in a language created for short texts... I won't read it.

Mindfully become aware of the people around you and practice taking the time to say "Please" and "Thank You"

Take the time and be mindful of the people around you for long enough that you yourself begin to take actions to help others that earn you your very own "Thank You" once in a while.

Make it a goal to carve out the time, space, location and motivation to READ A BOOK.

Magazines are fine, FB posts are fine. But I promise that if you read a 100 - 200 - 300 page document, you will learn what all the fuss has been about books the past few centuries.

If you live on 'take away' food... learn how to prepare a few basic and healthy 30 minute meals. Jamie O even has 15 minute recipes you can try. Then eat it slowly and be mindful with each mouthful, savouring each bite.

Give yourself at least a few minutes to learn how to eat healthily and to FEED YOUR FAMILY food that doesn't kill them. They will thank you when they don't have to fight obesity, because you took the time to feed them right in the first place.

continued below /...

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Take. Your. Time. People.
by: .../continued

Begin a new hobby, collect something in a theme, carve out the time to learn a new craft that delights you - enjoy the accomplishment of a new skill applied mindfully ... you can discover a joy in life you never knew existed before!

Take more time to live your life... you are allowed to live every day of your short life. You don't have to be running on a hamster wheel all day, getting nowhere fast. You can still achieve powerful goals, but don't kill yourself or kill your happiness, in the process.

And just give it your best shot to be MINDFUL about all the things you plan and that you do every day.

Little and big tasks. Give each one a new appreciation.

Ask yourself if you are really doing this in the most effective way. Is this the most pleasurable way to do it... Could you maybe even have a bit of FUN doing some of these things?

I think you will love your life a lot more, if you begin each thing you do in life every day with a simple step of take a deep breath, CLEAR YOUR MIND, concentrate on what you are about to do, and how to do it well and have fun in the process.

Then CELEBRATE the job well done. Just enjoy the moment.

Yes, sit down, have a drink of your favourite beverage, admire your handiwork.

Tell a friend if its a project you sweated blood over... share the good news, pop a champagne cork... celebrate the big and small milestones.

Take. Your. Time. People.

Go on strike and simply refuse to be the hamster on the wheel, running flat out every day and pretty much getting nowhere for all the effort, other than a step closer to a heart attack, nervous breakdown, or simply a broken heart from the disappointment endured of never feeling the joy of accomplishment... feeling like a failure because you can never do enough, be enough, have enough, never meet other peoples expectations...


* I REFUSE to multitask my life away any more! *

I've wasted the past 20+ years being an 'over-achiever' who was at least fortunate enough to make money, but I lost my LIFE in the process.

I'm going to do things from now on - one thing at a time.

I'm going to do them mindfully, and be as fast and effective as I can, but not frustrated and having to leave most undone or barely done.

I'm going to mindfully craft a life that includes the arts and crafts and entertainment that I used to love and have been starved of for a couple of decades.

I'm going to laugh again, and even be silly sometimes.


THERE... I said it.

Shock, Horror.... "Helene is an UNDERACHIEVER now!!!! Oh no, how can we help her to become Superwoman again???? We must save Helene from being mediocre!!!"

I know, I know... all I have to do is work harder, work smarter, be more motivated, set bigger goals, and I'll magically make more money.

Don't bother. I'd rather have more LIFE to live, than have more MONEY to spend in a life I can't enjoy fully.

I'm in my happy bubble of a world, and I'm not coming out again.


I used to work full time, care for a marriage, create and craft, bake and cook, clean and DIY and garden... and still have time to read books, shop, watch movies, meet with friends....

I had it all... and I didn't appreciate it because I didn't know back then that this was the life I would later look back on with ENVY.


Have a look at your life, your goals, your DAILY EXPECTATIONS OF YOURSELF... and ask if you are being KIND TO YOURSELF.

Are you even being sane in your expectations of yourself.. every. single. day.

If you look at it all and say you'll 'somehow' work it out and fit it all in... may I humbly suggest that you ask yourself what the heck your life if about anyway?????

Are you having enough fun????

As I used to ask: "Is this the fun part yet???"

If not, go back to the drawing board, and design a better year for yourself.

You are allowed to love your life... not just be an achiever.

My motto:


So, be mindful of what you are doing, why you are doing it, and have some fun doing it.

Have a good one!

Your friend who cares,
Helene Malmsio

This post was written in response to a post by Tiffany Lambert on her blog that triggered this reply from me... I've gone a bit off-track in my tangent *of course*, but if you are curious, check it out here:

When "Not Good Enough" Becomes Your Mantra

p.s. I'm also creating a Gratitude Box for myself and a couple of friends this year... to remind myself of the common pleasures and simple joys that I am grateful for.

But that is for another post... so keep your eyes open for that one!!!

by: Over achieving crazy woman

Okay okay I got ya. You make sense.

Ha ha! Never thought of it that way!

(Over achieving crazy woman)


Haha .... Its only because I love you to bits and want you to be happy!!!

I can't wait to see what your new novel will be like!

Just remember to be kind to yourself!!!

You don't need a boot up the butt... there is no procrastination in you. If you can't do something, its for a very good reason girl.

Ha! I think I'm starting to develop a Honeybadger rant style too! I needed to get this out of my system.... AND get in the habit of becoming MINDFUL again.

I just want to ENJOY my work more and have fun again doing stuff I actually do want to do, that earns me money, rather than always feeling overwhelmed.

From now on, when I feel overwhelmed, or frustrated, I'm first going to look at whether or not I'm trying to do too much at one... multitasking in a bad way.

- Helene

I Totally Agree
by: Nancy Hardin

You have no idea how much I totally agree with this entire rant.

I remember a more peaceful time (I'm old!) when we seemed to have more minutes in the day, when we had the ability to accomplish things, to feel proud of them.

These days, as you said, there is no time to feel good about our accomplishments. It's immediately "on to the next task."

I'm sharing this on FB and on G+, because maybe, just maybe, a few other folks I know may feel the same way.

We want to say, "Stop the world, I want to get off!" and find a place where we can work at our own pace in peace.

Thanks for this, it's excellent, spells out the current mindset so well.

Nancy @ http://www.mysteryinthehistory.com


Thank you so much Nancy for taking the time to have a say here, I really appreciate it, and for sharing this pondering of mine!

I hope that you get closer to finding that wonderful balance in life and work, that is also profitable!

- Helene

Couldn't Agree More!
by: Barbara Tremblay Cipak

I think many people are feeling this way lately.

It's been something I've been actively working on since last summer (the Squidoo buyout was the beginning of my shift - like many others I'm sure)

When you said 'take time to read a book', well there must be something in the air, because yesterday, I picked up a book at 5pm and read the entire book in 6 hours..and I NEVER read books, I always read and work online.

In terms of business time management this year, I'm taking the advice from a fun astrological chart, 'don't try to do everything like you usually do'..yep guilty..instead commit to 3 things.

So for me it's only 3 websites this year max. Not 20 or 10 or even 5. Just 3. And I'll put my energy into '3'. Family too. Calmness too. Balance too.

Very much all of these things are on the agenda.

By the way when you said, .."to *give 110 percent*!!! What knob of a Consultant came up with that bit of horror to make everyone feel totally inadequate?" I busted a gut. So TRUE!

Barbara @ http://funkthishouse.com


Hey there Barbara, so cool to hear from you!

Glad you 'got' the post... my ranting wasn't all in vain then, and that you got a laugh from the 100% twaddle - lol!

I found so much freedom from cutting back to feeding only one personal website, and one shared IM site I get content put on for Azon sales... and then concentrating my focus on my Books and my PLR store.

That's it... that's more than enough to keep me working flat out as much (or as little) as I want for the year ahead, and still make some income from it.

Such a relief to not be spinning my wheels trying to feed content on a dozen or more niche sites, on top of publishing and PLR and social networking it all, and, and, and ... every other bright shiny new object that caught my eye.

Note: Right now this minute I've been sorting through at least a couple of years of email/receipts for all the KDP/kindle/book publishing products I've bought, so that I can check I still have copies of the products on file, or chase them up if they were lost on any of the last 3 laptops I upgraded from.

Simple job, but one I just didn't have time to do before now ...SO .. I'll now go re-read the content & check software and USE the danged things I bought, INSTEAD of falling for some new product promising to be the answer to my book marketing. USE WHAT I ALREADY HAVE!!! Duh!

And I also read a big book last week (pretty much in one sitting too) that had been waiting there for 18 month for me to read something NOT on a computer screen!!!! Now I just have to finish the rest of the 10 book series - lol!

I'm already having so much fun this year its crazy... it's surely going to be a good one!!

I'd love to hear in a month or two how you have gone with the implementing of your ideas and if you are happy with the results, so do let me know.

- Helene

I threw all those balls away
by: Diane Wallace

I have gone from juggling 10 or more balls in the air as a social worker to being happy if I accomplish one thing in a day. I have to say that mutlitasking led to my high anxiety and becoming a recluse.

I enjoy doing things I am good at, but being forced to accomplish things that were not in my skillset, and also completing the tasks that I was good at, literally led to a meltdown.

I ran across an article a while back that said it is impossible to multitask. You might think you can, but you can only focus on one thing at a time. For a split second, you take your attention off of one thing, to the second or third thing.

A phone rings, you quit reading your notes, or talking to a client, or whatever you were doing at the time. You will probably go back to it, but you have to break your focus to attend to the other thing. After awhile, your brain processing become fried.

I have always recommended the art of managing by letting people focus on what they are good at. I had an activity director that hated to put up decorations. But she was great at many other things. But my boss insisted that it was her job to put the decorations up, although another staff person loved to decorate.

That is just one example of how we push people into tasks that don't fit them, and then add even more on top of that.

I guess I have my own rant going. So glad I climbed off the crazy roller coaster ride and spend all day doing what I want. I wish everyone could do that.

Diane @ http://grannysage.weebly.com


Good on you Diane, I'm sorry to hear you had a literal meltdown over it and I know you would be much happier for not trying to juggle those bleeping balls all at once.

I know what you mean about forcing yourself to do ALL the jobs, including the ones you're not good at and/or don't enjoy.

While we still have to do some things we don't want to (eg: go to the dentist) there is no doubt that the stress of frustration of doing what you don't like is just not worth the damage to health and your overall wellbeing.

I flatly refuse nowadays. If I don't want to do it myself I outsource it. I find the money if its important enough to me, to my project. Or I barter my skills for someone else's skills.

I'm much happier, and more confident, since I don't have to deal with the frustration and 'failure' of not doing a job well that I simply loathe doing!!!!

Looks like a few of us will be going on strike this year and simply refusing to try the mirage of multitasking!!!!

- Helene

p.s. Your site has come such a long way since you first started it - congratulations!

Totally Agree
by: Mike Gardner Is The Time Doctor

I have been telling people for years that Multi-Tasking is very overated, you end up doing a lot of things not very well.


I'm glad you woke up to it years ago... I just hope the rest of us learn the better way to get everything done, and still have time for a life to live!

- Helene

p.s. let me know if you have a blog/site you would like your comment profile linked back to.

I Can Multitask, I Just Choose Not To
by: Bonnie Gean

Hi Helene,

I don't believe multitasking is the culprit of people being unfocused and unable to finish a project to completion. I believe unfinished products are the byproduct of the people who fail to finish their work.

Individuals are either going to be serious or lazy when it comes to producing products. I had moments of "dragging my feet" when I know I should be working to complete a project.

My failure to complete the work had nothing to do with multitasking at the time. I was lazy and finding excuses NOT to do the work, which can happen quite often. :)

RE: No Enjoyment from Multitasking

I must be a part of the elite few who gain satisfaction from multitasking and getting my work done. I don't normally start a new project until one is complete, marketing has started and sales are starting to flow in.

Afterwards, there could be email questions that need my attention, which doesn't leave much time to start another project. In addition, I like to give my brain a rest in between bigger projects. Don't you?

It's no wonder that some don't get much work done if they are working on several different tasks at a time without giving their brains a rest after finishing a project.

You can't continue burning the candles at both ends and expect your creations to be the best they can be. You NEED to take time out from big jobs. Otherwise, you're going to burn out.

RE: Cleaning House

When I was younger, I used to clean the entire house in one day. I would start early in the morning on a Saturday and continue all day until the house was clean.

I no longer clean the house in one day like I once did. At age 54, I get a cleaner house by doing a room or two a day. When I was younger and single, my home didn't get as dirty as it does now. Thank you, dear husband. ROFL

RE: My Ancestors

I disagree with you about ancestors. :) My mom was always on the go. She would bake in the morning, and while pies were in the oven, she would peel nuts for nut tossies in the evening.

On weekends, she was constantly cooking, baking and wrapping meat from the smokehouse. As kids, we did the same. Everybody pitched in to help. Perhaps this is why I can continue to multitask today without severe consequences.

Again, I am not disputing your opinion. I just feel that I'm not part of the same mold as you when it comes to multitasking. That's nota bad thing; it just means we're different. :)

- Bonnie @ http://www.bonniegean.com


Yes you make great point Bonnie.

I think my version of multi-tasking is different, because I also like to complete each project as I go... what I don't like is fracturing each task so that you are juggling many all at once, before any of them are completed.

eg: housecleaning... I wouldn't leave the dishes half done to go do something else.. I would finish THAT job before I went on to the next.

And yes, I do a little every day... but I always have broken housecleaning into weekly/monthly schedules rather than try to do it all in one day.

re: ancestors, I agree that they were always busy, always working. But the difference is that they were allowed to finish making and baking the pie... the did not have to keep interrupting themselves to answer phones for kids wanting immediate pickup, emails from people wanting immediate replies, employers expecting 24/7 access to workers, and a To-Do list that keeps growing with no hope in the world to ever get everything on it completed...

THAT kind of stress and demand for your IMMEDIATE attention/response to drop everything for whomever is on the other end is what is killing us.

And I no longer keep BOOKS of long lists of all the tasks and projects I'm expected to be juggling all-at-once.

I just select a handful of things, and plan from the start to get each one completed before I go on the next.

Obviously you can pre-book outsourcing etc. for projects and call the Tradies to show up at set days etc. but what I mean is that I don't intend to try writing a book chapter, while the tradie is here tearing down a wall, and stopping to bake a pie, while also painting the robe, and driving to stores, while dealing with client phone calls and staff issues etc etc.
I plan my days and projects better.
You can't plan out the unexpected, but you can at least make a point of not ensuring your life will be stressed and miserable everyday from your over-expectation of yourself.

Maybe I'm not putting it well, I just know that I had the most insane, unrealistic expectation of myself and what I could physically achieve in one day/week/month/year... and so I was just setting myself up for years of living a super-stressful life with veins popping out of my forehead, and feeling like a 'failure' even when I somehow managed to get 70% of things very successfully done. It was never enough!!!!

And the fact is that I never planned enough time for my own self-care or to just have FUN... no arts and crafts, no entertainment, no socializing, no book reading... I just worked my butt off and was miserable.

I'm grateful that I have the bit of money and investments I now enjoy ... but I really wish I had also had a chance to have a bit of a 'life' along the way the past 30 years too.

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