You have a psych club meeting, three hours volunteering at the library, dinner with the student government team, lots of homework to do—and do not forget to call your grandma back tonight— all before 11 when you are supposed to have lights out! Does this sound familiar to anyone?
I am guilty of this. Hand-waving guilty over here. I have had cluttered to do lists and think my invincible multitasking moments will once again help me get it all done.
Even though we start with the best intentions to tackle our to do list, multitasking clutters our work space. And as you pull back from your work space hours later, you feel tired, but most of all you feel disappointed because you didn’t get accomplished what you needed to get done. This is called multitasking. Multitasking is defined by Webster’s dictionary as: “the performance of multiple tasks at one time.” Multitasking really looks like an insane amount of extracurricular activities and never putting 100% energy into something because of the constant distractions. Constantly being on the move will in turn cause you to multitask and not fully invest your time.
Multitasking and the brain
According to Dr. Nancy K. Napier, editor of Psychology Today, “neuroscience research tells us that the brain doesn’t do tasks simultaneously.” So when you are trying to do a million things at once, your brain is going into overdrive just to keep up, rather than completing each task with precision. Instead of having a planner that gives you anxiety each time you open it, it’s time to find your space that makes you invest. You want to find a place where you want to spend your time and share your own talents. Being invested could mean getting a leadership role, spearheading a new project, or connecting with amazing people. Investing and giving 100% not only helps you grow more as a person, but also wildly improves your mental health.
Multitasking and the employer
Your brain is not the only thing getting a headache from your multitasking—so is your future employer from reading your resume. Rosemary Tator and Alesia Latson from the American Management Association released new information on how employers view multitasking. The duo reported future employers will look for the effectiveness of multitasking, or whether you were able to achieve your goals in the most productive way possible. For example, you may be in all the clubs on campus, but are your grades the best they could be? Future employers will look for your ability to choose a habit and stick with it. The ability to have the headspace of deep attention shows the employer stability and dependability. Multitasking your way through college doesn’t give any future employer a clear view of where your passions lie.
So, what now? How do you turn around from your never ending marathon of multitasking and biting off more than you can chew? Don’t go back to your resume and cross off things that don’t look as impressive or stick with a club because #resumegoals. Instead, you are going to find your MAGIC! Out all of the thousand things you do there has to be a few that you love, whether that is the psychology club or volunteering on the weekends. Find your space where you feel most like you, where you bring forth smiles from strangers or you bring forth inspiration to a space that only you can bring.
Multitasking to magic
Multitasking to magic means instead of dividing your time you are investing in you by being fully immersed in an activity. The Huffington Post, Harvard Business Review, and Leisure Options have all written on the importance of giving up multitasking. Finding one’s magic means that you choose your top three activities and put your full focus on them.
Giving up multitasking does not mean giving up things you like, it means fostering your love and growth for the person you are.
Fontbonne University’s Director of Career Development Christine Keller offered some insight into multitasking and how to grow and develop one’s magic. Keller reminded me that college is the time to mold your future goals. “This being said you want to find places where you can shine and advance your skill set,” Keller stated. “Involvement is great! But I want to see an in depth engagement and the skills gained.”
Having a cluttered to do list or long list of clubs isn’t going to mold you in any way: Invest your time, invest in yourself, invest in your MAGIC! Don’t drain yourself by being a part of everything—not just because of your employer, or because you need sleep—but because you should be fully immersed in your passion and spend your time cultivating your magic. Investing in your time will lead you to discover where your passions are, and give you the opportunity to fully excel. Multitasking clutters your space, resume, and your mind. Each day is another day to improve yourself, so be the best you can be by fully immersing yourself in the magic of the person you are.