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Pay Attention.

Focus.  I can’t tell you how many times I say that word to my children.  Whether it’s eating, walking, homework, or just listening to what their mother or I are telling them.  The instruction to focus has been a recurrent theme in my children’s lives since my oldest was about 2 or so.  If you think about it, there is more to my favorite parenting mantra than meets the eye.

There’s a saying that if you’re multi-tasking, you’re actually half-assing and studies are beginning to agree.  Trying to do multiple things at the same time results in poorer results for all of those tasks.  Here’s a link to an article suggesting as much:
From personal experience, I could not study or do work from home and parent at the same time.  I was short-tempered asking for near-silence and then talking and playing and not giving the attention needed to comprehend what I was reading.  I found quite early that I needed to separate those.  Once my children were asleep, I could study or do work from home… or better yet, utilize time in the proper environment to accomplish my goals and leave home for family time.
I mean, would YOU want to focus on studies when you could be with these "angels"?

Another example, is driving.  The VAST majority of accidents are caused by one or more parties engaged in some activity other than driving while behind the wheel.  Texting and driving has become a serious issue, but putting on make up, eating/drinking, even conversing have all been implicated in accidents. 

The point is, if you aren’t paying the attention needed for a task, the outcome often suffers.  How many times have you had to re-read a page in a book because you started thinking about something else and though you were reading the words, you have zero clue what you read?  I could come up with more and more examples, but you get the point.  People pride themselves on being multi-taskers, but their performance suffers… it also takes more time than if you were to just focus on each thing individually.
If at work, you set aside time to check your emails and dedicate your attention to emails 2 or 3 times a day, if needed, but all other times, you don’t allow yourself to be distracted by emails, you will find your productivity will increase.  The to-do list idea I gave last week is another great way to ensure you are prioritizing and accomplishing things.  Focusing on one item at a time, based on priority will actually allow you to get more accomplished on your list.
Whether it’s to ensure you get more done in a day, you understand instructions better, enhance your learning, or just to reduce stress… focusing on the task at hand is more important than you know.  Maybe you don’t get to deep clean your house every time you’re home with the kids, but you’ll have happy kids and you can clean when they’re napping.  My recommendation is to try it for a week.  Make the concerted effort to schedule out time to get things done, rather than just trying to do several things at once as they come up and see if it helps.  I believe you’ll find that you will be less stressed and more productive throughout the day.


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