The myth of multi-tasking.

“Hutchison’s Law: Any occurrence requiring undivided attention will be accompanied by a compelling distraction.” ~Robert Bloch

ADD or BMSRecently I have begun hanging out at the Starbucks near the community college with my Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte while Jacob is in class. It really doesn’t make sense to drive nearly 30 minutes to the school and nearly 30 minutes back home, then do it all over again in a couple of hours. Can we say, gas prices?? Cha-ching!

So I pack up my bag of tricks, drop Jacob off at school and head over to do some “work” at Starbucks.

Oh, honey, I bring my books for my co-op classes. I have my laptop. My calendar. My book club book (currently The Picture of Dorian Gray…on Chapter 3 presently.). My other book club book (The Fire of Delayed Answers by Bob Sorge, which is excellent stuff, indeed. Highly recommend. PLUG: I have been participating in an online discussion each Wednesday. Come back tomorrow for my response to this week’s chapter.)

Think, Mary Poppins’ bottomless bag. Who knows what else is might be in there? 

I come each time with very high hopes of great accomplishments—intentions to get everything all read and planned for my Thursday co-op classes, get a blog post written, respond to emails, and read a few chapters in both book club books. No big deal, right?

But alas, I never fail to be sidetracked by the many distractions around me.

This is a shocker, I know. <insert mocking laughter here>

I think my failure to accomplish all my plans might be due to an affliction akin to having eyes bigger than your stomach. You know, the best laid plans and all that.

Inevitably, I end up playing Words With Friends or blog hopping or making a friend or inadvertently overhearing the conversation of the folks next to me or Facebooking or, or, or…Or better yet, trying to do all the aforementioned things all at one time. And then there are the times my mind just starts to wander. (Did I leave the stove on? Did I pay the cable bill? Did I sign that thing for Emma for school? Aw, dang, I forgot to run the dishwasher. Did I close the garage door?)

Sad, but true.

Hello??? Distracted much?

I have come to the conclusion that the whole multi-tasking thing is a big lie. It is simply doing many things with little success. Here is the predicament in which I find myself—starting one thing before finishing another and then forgetting ever starting the first thing.

For years, I have somewhat jokingly called myself ADD. Nothing official, of course, but clearly the signs are there. You could probably, more accurately call my problem BMS—Busy Mother Syndrome. My life is full of distractions, yet I just keep pressing on, doing the next thing. Putting out fires as I go. And hoping all the important stuff is done.

However, occasionally, I will manage to focus long enough to actually finish something during my Starbucks visit before I have to return to collect Jacob—like today!


But, hey, even a blind squirrel gets a nut every once in a while, right?


This is my offering for Two Shoes Tuesday. Each week, Josie gives two word prompts to choose from and you must include one or both of them  in an original essay, poem or story. You can use them as a theme or the words themselves. This week’s words were distraction and tears.

Want to link up? Click below:


Filed under Humor, Two Shoes Tuesday

20 responses to “The myth of multi-tasking.

  1. I could so relate to this Joell, I constantly seem to be grabbing at one thing and then another in a futile attempt to get everything or even anything done, and I know from past experience, just as you note, that this approach is not productive! I wish I could shut the world out when I am busy as well as I manage to do when I am alone and writing. I wish there was a button or switch that blocked everything else from the mind! But alas, there is not! 🙂 Kudos to you for having a good day and making progress! I’ve sometimes found that time allotments help, dedicating a certain block of time to one task and not allowing myself to transfer to another during that time. This was a thoughtful TST post that made me smile in understanding… thanks!!

    • Glad you could relate, Josie! 🙂 I will say that I have times where I do better than others with my focus and productivity–and of course the opposite is true as well! LOL!

  2. I am always in awe of moms. I am distracted enough without having other folks depending on me 24/7.

  3. Haha! I’d go with Busy Mommy Syndrome. I think it’s a good excuse too for me ;o)

  4. Yum, I like Starbucks, but I don’t like coffee, tea drinker, except sometimes there are certain coffees that I like.

    I thought the picture of Dorian Gray was a good book, I enjoyed reading it.

    I also have problems with getting distracted in busy places. I don’t mean to, but I can’t help listening in to other people around me talking. I always have to find a quiet place to read so that I can concentrate. : )

    • Lately I’ve been drinking more tea than coffee, surprisingly. I am especially fond of Lady Grey tea here recently. Usually I get a coffee drink instead of tea when I go to a Starbucks or another such coffee shop, though.

      I am still working my way through Dorian Gray…I have been so busy with other things, that I have not been able to really just sit for a long while and read. Let’s just say, I’ve been distracted! LOL! 😉 Thanks, Joseph!

  5. Jim

    Good tale, Joell. If you figure it out, let me know. Mine could be different, like compulsive (something). When I go to the doctor or am on an errand with Mrs. Jim I always take a plastic grocery bag with my current book or two, three Jumbo puzzles from past papers, four magaizines, and my iPhone that I use for an iPad (i.e. not a cell phone installed in it). Quite often I use the iPhone to return blog comments, read my e-mail (tonight I have 94,587 unopened out of a total of 97,496 in my inbox–that doesn’t count the 55 filter where news, blog comments, eBay searches, and all the others go into their own boxes).

    Or I find a new friend to exchange stories with, watch TV, read magazines already there, or take a snooze. My bag stays packed like it was when I left home.

    • Thanks, Jim! Sounds like you understand exactly what I’m talking about…maybe it isn’t really Busy Mother Syndrome after all?? Maybe it really IS ADD for real! Oh well…I guess it shall remain a mystery and meanwhile all us distracted folks will just have to stick together! 🙂

  6. I recognise BMS but though all my chicks have flown the nest I am still too easily distracted and too busy to finish anything thoroughly. More haste, less speed . . . or something 😉

  7. You don’t how much I so identify with this. I have a coffee shop to where I go to try and get work done. I sit on my couch and try to get work done. I am retired for pete sake. LOL 🙂

  8. I have that problem too. Susan (you know that one who doesn’t participate in any social media :)) gave me a little trick. She said to keep pen and paper handy and just write down what pops in your mind. I go back and forth but it really works. Knowing that it’s sitting there on paper and out of my mind does something to my brain. Hope it helps. Thank you for the sweet comment, oh, social media twinsie you!

    • Hahaha!! “The one who doesn’t participate in any social media.” So funny. That is a good tip and I do try to do that, especially with all those ‘to dos’…such as, sign that paper for Emma or need brown sugar or whatever. Sometimes, I will say to one of the kids, “remind me of … when we get home.” They both do pretty well with that. Goodness, what am I gonna do when my mind gets really bad??? haha!

  9. I’ve packed up my stuff to go to B&N and try to work in piece. What do I do? Twitter ‘n stuff. I never accomplish what I really went there for, and I’m never impressed with my coffee.

  10. Oh I so remember the mommy syndrome. This is all true and I think most of us experienced it just the way you are now. Yes indeed. Very entertaining post.

    Have a terrific day. 🙂

I always love hearing from you! :-)

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