Slow drivers, long queues, being on hold for more than about 90 seconds all get my dander up. I am one of those people who click things on their computer too many times and end up with multiple versions of Word open on my desktop. I feel exasperated when Andy moves from room to room and does not load himself up, Sherpa-style, with all the stuff he could be taking with him; I want to shout “time management people, time management!!”
All of this frustration is (mostly) silent as my good manners generally hold sway over my more base emotions but sheesh, it’s all going on inside. I want to do several things at once and I want them to happen at a click of a button; I hate to “waste time” which is why I’m almost incapable of a romantic stroll and instead set off at a brisk pace towards our destination while Andy rolls his eyes and sometimes jogs (sarcastically) to keep up.
Impatience, frustration and exasperation are not useful emotions in my life and they are too close to anger for my liking. I’m not an angry person, in fact my natural disposition is sunny so why the need to have things happen RIGHT NOW?
It’s partly driven by my need to “multitask”; I have so much I want to do in any given day that waiting feels like dead time. Being on hold for 23 minutes is only acceptable if I am simultaneously paying bills online. If the internet connection drops out during that time and I have to just sit there then it’s a wasted opportunity. Likewise, standing in a monumental queue at the post office because they only have one staff member serving during their busiest period drives me a little bit wild. I could shop for dinner, check out the specials at Aldi, (are we okay for whippersnippers and mackerel?) and chat to my friend in the florist during the time it takes to get to the counter in that place.
However, new research from the University of Utah shows that my long-held belief in the awesome power of my own ability to multitask may be misplaced “We showed that people who multitask the most are those who appear to be the least capable of multitasking effectively” says Psychology Professor David Sanbonmatsu, a senior author of the study.
Professor David Strayer, adds, “The people who are most likely to multitask harbor the illusion they are better than average at it, when in fact they are no better than average and often worse.” Citing humorist Garrison Keillor’s catchphrase about kids in Keillor’s fictitious hometown, Strayer says people… “all think they live in Lake Wobegon, where everybody is above average. But it’s a statistical impossibility.”
So if multitasking is a bit of a myth, at least for those of us who think we’re good at it, what’s the alternative? What do I do with all that dead time - just “be”?! Stand there and think? Ponder the vastness of the universe? Well, sort of.
I am currently receiving my best ever lesson in patience as I await the arrival of our new baby. With just three days to go until the official due date, I am rather excited to meet this little person and the impatience has been creeping in. I spent all of last week engaged in various natural induction methods and confess I have acupuncture booked for later today to see if we can’t get things started.
|A two week old Agatha - still makes my heart skip a beat. |
Photo by Rachel Richter Photography
But, this last couple of days I’ve had a change of heart. I realised that this little one will come when s/he is ready and that the best thing I can do is to relax and enjoy this last few days with my baby inside me. I may never be pregnant again and I want to savour the experience. A calmness has taken over and amazingly (and thanks in part to a nesting-related energy surge) I’m getting more done than ever before.
I’m trying to extend this Zen-like attitude to other areas of my life and this morning I only pressed the Excel shortcut on my desktop once and then waited until it opened up before pressing anything else. I spent the few seconds it took to open gazing at the photo on my desk of a two week old Agatha and thought how much I loved her and the baby we’re soon to welcome.
Best “waste of time” ever.