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About Magnificence in the Mundane

Bringing humor to the many challenges of parenting, driving a gigantic SUV full of smelly boys and their friends, letting go of the idea of perfection and tackling middle age all serve as my inspiration. We all have common experiences, I just share my take on the absurdity of every... Read more

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I Juggle…Therefore I Am

A recent study found that multi-tasking is bad for you. There were a lot of big words and I was cooking while I was reading, but I think it was telling me that multi-tasking makes me stupider.

More stupid? Not as smart? Oh, whatever…

This revelation is disastrous to me on the scale of the Hindenburg, Titanic and the Big Crash of ’29.

My ability to multi-task is my crowning glory. I am the poster child for half-assing my way through each and every day tackling more than one thing at a time.  If you take that away from me, I got nothing.

Focusing on just one task makes me jittery. Like I am forgetting 30,000 other things that I am supposed to be doing right that very minute.

beautiful-woman-juggling-apples-and-oranges-on-a-white-backgrounI juggle, therefore I am.

The research asserted that my brain cells were being depleted minute by multi-tasking minute. I had no choice but to use what little smarts I had left to shoot holes in their theory.

First, the whole study was conducted in England. Any country that carves time out of the afternoon for sipping tea is sending a message. That message is: we like to slow it down, recharge and drink out of fancy cups with our pinky extended.  I just don’t trust information gathered from a population that can order “bangers” in a restaurant with a straight face.

Here in America, we recharge at Starbucks where we order an extra shot, check our emails, scan the headlines and make dinner reservations on our phones while waiting for our drink with our name misspelled. We don’t make time to grab the Sharpie and correct the barista, there is too much to do.

Secondly, the study details how multi-tasking can reduce brain function much like the effects of staying up all night or smoking marijuana.

Ha! I haven’t slept through the night in over a decade without the aid of a big old shot of NyQuil.  Or a shot of something. I am a mother, sleep is not an inalienable right. I can stay up all night and still own carpool, PTA and the McDonald’s drive-thru. Actually, the shouting from the backseat while ordering at the drive-thru makes carpool and the PTA bake sale seem like a snap.

Furthermore, my kids do and say such outrageous things in public that I often feel like I am hallucinating. You know when things get all fuzzy like you are watching someone else’s kid—not your own- shove two whole cantaloupes under his shirt and say he works at Hooters. Mortification slows down your reaction time.

Which is all sort of like being on drugs, right?  Being impaired is my normal state every day.

I was starting to suspect that this study had nothing to do with me when I saw it. The sentence that crystalized how ridiculous this whole premise was:

“IQ drops of 15 points for multitasking MEN lowered their scores to the average range of an 8-year-old child.”

I will give you a moment to let that sink in. Really, read it twice if you have to.

Phew! They are talking about men. Specifically men who cannot handle too much or they turn into small children. Wait, isn’t that all men?

I hope this research did not cost a lot of money. I would have offered up my four quasi-domesticated males as lab rats and they could have reached the same conclusion.

For free.

Not one of my boy-people can multi-task. More than one command evokes the dull stare of the dairy cow while the world literally stops on its axis. This genetic lapse also means no assigning of multiple tasks at one time. Even if they are not expected to perform them simultaneously.

So, the phrase “pick up those socks and then take your hamper upstairs” shuts down the entire operation. Just that simple conjunction—“AND”—jumbles the brain cells. You can literally see the gears trying to engage and then nothing. The end.

That all important man reference should have been in the beginning of the article, thank you very little. Then I would have stopped reading right there and saved myself 15 minutes.

Do you have any idea how much I can get done in 15 minutes?

Maureen Stiles

About Maureen Stiles

Maureen is the author of the blog Magnificence in the Mundane. You can read her monthly column at The Town Courier.


One Response to “I Juggle…Therefore I Am”

  1. On December 5, 2014 at 5:20 pm responded with... #

    Loved this blog!! Was a fun read, thanks!

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