Awesome Apprenticeship: July

We asked Courtney Ramirez to be our Awesome Apprentice; she’s taking the 52 Weeks to Awesome course and will be writing us a post at the end of each month to share her experiences with us.

Look how excited she is!

Multitasking is a Mask for Worry-Addiction

It’s amazing how many weeks that I’ll open up the lesson for the week and discover something that I’d independently decided to work on earlier that week. I feel like I’m either getting really in tune with what the course has to offer or the course’s lessons are gentle “keep going” messages.

Anyway, the same thing happened in the last four weeks. Each of the lessons were gentle reminders to keep going – and gave me valuable insight into how exactly to keep going. This course is the perfect marriage of advanced thinking and practical tips.

The most useful insight this month has to do with being mindful and staying in the moment.

I’m a card carrying worrier. I come from a long line of farmers, who are naturally set up to be worriers. They worry about the weather, about the crops, about politics, about everything. I was pre-set to worry. While worrying has its place (like when you’re sitting in a hospital waiting to hear news about a loved one), it can be absolutely paralyzing on a day to day basis.

So, one of the biggest challenges in staying in the moment is doing one thing at a time.

I used to think of myself as an efficient multitasker because I was always busy. A health crisis in the last three years made it hard for my motivation to stick and for me to stay productive. As soon as I started to feel better, I vowed to start “catching up” and stay busy.

The only problem was, I felt like I was treading water.

Each day was busier than the last, but I was getting very little actually completed.

I was multitasking.

And it wasn’t working.

So. this week I worked on staying focused in the moment. At first, it was hard because I was so used thinking “Oh, I’m so busy – look at how productive I am.” I busted through that by writing down what I did in a “present moment” day vs. what I did during a “multitasking day.”

The results were stunning.

But despite the clear facts in front of me, it was still difficult to stop multitasking completely. I analyzed it and tried to dig down to find out what was keeping me hung up on multitasking. I realized that as I was multitasking, I was actually bathing in worry. I was doing one thing while worried about doing something else.

My attention was split and I worried so much that I had to pull myself back into the moment.

Then I realized that my tendency to multitask wasn’t about getting more done – it was about worrying more. Worry is the motivator of multitasking. Time and time again, studies have shown that multitasking is not productive. But we do it anyway – because something about us likes to worry.

Tackling the heart of the problem – worrying – by focusing on the moment and gently pulling yourself back to the present will make your more productive and happier in the long run.

Courtney Ramirez is a content, seo and marketing superhero consultant by day and geeky BBC sitcom watching mom and wife by night. When not developing carpal tunnel by writing for her clients or playing the Sims, she’s homeschooling two girls and toying around with the idea of starting a new blog. You can follow her on Twitter.

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