Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

When my children were young I fancied myself a very good multi-tasker. I could be cooking dinner, listening to the TV news and refereeing two young boys or maybe answering homework questions. I mentally juggled a big ‘to-do list that had work, kids, family and household tasks in no particular order. A lot of what I did was routine and didn’t require a big plan, just task execution.

I have a strong ability to focus in on one thing and ignore other things going on around me. I remember reading a really good book. My then husband came into the living room and tipped my book down.

He asked me, “Do you have any idea what the boys are up to?”

My response, “Ah, no but if someone was crying I’m sure I’d hear them.”

The two boys had taken books out of the book shelves so they could get to the shelves. They had taken ceramic logs out of the fireplace. They had used the logs and the shelves (painted white) to make a jump over which to ride their bikes on the driveway in front of the house. All of this had happened while I was reading in the same room as the fireplace and the bookshelves. There is focus and then there is multitasking. Apparently I was better at focusing than multitasking.

As Nana, I have lost the illusion, or delusion that I can multitask. I now realize that I need to be constantly scanning the three grandkids to have any idea what they are up to. Being with them one at a time is a gift for both of us. I can really listen to what they are saying one at a time.

NPR had a story,Think You’re Multitasking? Think Again which echoed my realizations.

As technology allows people to do more tasks at the same time, the myth that we can multitask has never been stronger. But researchers say it’s still a myth β€” and they have the data to prove it.

Humans, they say, don’t do lots of things simultaneously. Instead, we switch our attention from task to task extremely quickly.

Or, as Crissie said on Saturday,

For me, β€œmulti-tasking” now means two tasks at once … and breathing is one task.

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