The Ugly Side of Multi-Tasking
Ah, multi-tasking. It sounds so productive, doesn’t it? So efficient? I can practically see The Powers That Be, kicking back with their checklist of Tasks Teachers Should Complete To Be Effective and drooling over the power of getting just that much more out of their all mighty buck.
Any teacher worth her actual salt (What does that mean anyway?) can get more done in fifteen minutes than most people can do in an entire day. Give me fifteen free minutes before my little friends walk in the room and I could answer a bunch of emails, prep a math lesson, put a poem up on chart paper, sweep the floor, bake a few cupcakes, write a short story and probably give myself a freaking pedicure. On a good day.
On a bad day. Oh, ON A BAD DAY, it’s a totally different story.
Let me clarify. I don’t mean you’re typical teaching bad day wherein the children are bananas, staring out windows, picking their noses and generally more interested in the sounds one can make with one’s armpit. No. I mean a Teacher Bad Day wherein said teacher can not get focused because there are so many To Dos that all need to get done yesterday, most of which are partially completed but none of which have been crossed off the list because she has been multi-tasking rather than getting anything done. Feels busy. But in terms of actually getting stuff done? Not so much.
Isn’t crossing something off your To Do list the most wonderful feeling in the world? Like Christmas, the last day before a vacation and your birthday all wrapped up in a warm cupcake with cream cheese frosting?
What were we talking about?
Right. Teacher Bad Days. On those sorts of days, give us fifteen minutes and we will partially complete many things, move around a bunch of piles that don’t seem to ever disappear and maybe reheat our coffee. We will then spend the rest of the day moping about those wasted 15 minutes and what we coulda, woulda and shoulda done if we could just get focused.
Friends, I am having one of those days.
Seriously, I’ve written three partial blog posts, read a bunch of stuff on my Google Reader, clicked around the internet, read half a chapter of a professional book, gone to Staples, organized some files, called some principals and sent out a bunch of emails but in all that STUFF, nothing has gotten crossed off the list. In some sick twist of fate, I am my most productive when I have an absolutely mind-blowing, soul-crushing amount of work to do. When I have a manageable list in front of me…well, it’s an ugly display of looking busy under the guise of “multi-tasking” but really? I’m getting nothing done.
Cry me a river, right?
So I guess I’m off to find more stuff to do so I can actually get something done. We teachers are sick, sick people, no?