I Am A Squishy Multitasking Octopus
I think everyone has multitasking abilities, it just depends on what area of life we are talking about. Parents are great multitaskers because they have no other choice, they are forced into handling a lot of things all at once. Someone working in retails needs to handle a lot stuff at the same time too. And come on, who doesn’t sit on the loo and check their Facebook feed at the same time? But there is a difference in enjoying it, and if you are actually good at it too. I love multitasking, and I know that I am pretty good at it, too!
Multitasking and Coping
At the moment, I am writing this post, I am listening to music, I am supporting a friend with a big life decision, I am on my private Facebook trying to explain to another friend how to use rubber stamps, and I am redoing the SEO on an old blog post. I have 26 tabs open on my browser. You can call me an octopus. I don’t mean a toy from the fun sex toy company, no. Although, I am a good sex toy for my Master! But that is a topic for another post, eh? No, I mean the squishy animal with the tentacles. I can handle a lot of different things at the same time, and I am rocking most of those things too. I make mistakes like anyone else would, but in general, multitasking is a good thing for me.
The need for multitasking comes from a need for constant stimulation. I need to be forced to focus, to be on top of my game. If I try to focus on thing at a time, I quickly lose concentration. I start procrastinating, I start to daydream. I get reminded of my mental health issues, physical things that are going on. So I need to be constantly stimulated in an extreme way, to be able to concentrate.
I know this has a lot to do with dissociation and anxiety. There is a need the distraction, the constant stimulation. And I know that I am also great at multitasking because I have Dissociative Identity Disorder. The different alters are at work when different things are being done at the same time. But that is a good thing, because they all need to be occupied so the anxiety and triggers are being kept at bay. Like, there are several of us that have terrible health anxiety. If I wouldn’t overstimulate my brain, then the focus would be on all kinds of physical alignments instead of actually doing something that would make us feel accomplished.
I think that is also a reason for my love of multitasking. I just get so many more things done, and I feel more accomplished. And I can do all the stuff I usually do when procrastinating too: discussing the best ink for rubber stamps (dark colours always work best!), watching Netflix, listening to music. It is like I get to embrace everything all at once.
Thinking about it, my multitasking abilities are also very strongly linked to Bipolar Disorder episodes. When I am in hypomania, I can do lots and do it well too. I can be involved in 10 projects and I am still able to write on my blog, send in pitches and read other people’s stuff at the same time, while doing other hobbies, socializing and fucking for hours each day.
In depression, things look a bit different. I can’t do as much at the same time, my brain is just slower and gets overwhelmed faster. There were times when multitasking really helped me get through difficult times. The distraction of doing ten things at once, made it possible to not have to think of the bad things going on, and to push forward instead. I remember watching a movie, while listening to loud music, talking to friend in a Skype call, petting my cat and writing. All at the same time. That is when multitasking becomes a valuable distraction strategy.
Planning, Being Aware of Your Abilities and Self-Care
But I also think that multitasking can lead to mistakes if you are becoming careless and do too many things at once. It is all about knowing your abilities and prioritizing. Not everyone can multitask, and not everyone can always multitask on the same level. So what has helped me to avoid mistakes and to be in tune with what I am able to do at certain times is to first take into consideration where my mental and physical health are at.
Some days, it is better to not do a million things at once so I am actually able to finish something. My routines are always prioritized, and I use lists and a planner. I have the one thing I really need to do, and I start with that one thing. Then other things happen and they get my focus too, while I continue working on the goal, the project, the task. It is important for me to have goals for the day, to have lists that I can cross things off from. I sit down every Sunday for an hour or two and plan the coming week. It really helps me prioritize, and feel accomplished.
Multitasking might seem chaotic to some, but it isn’t for me. It is just the way that I am. I am never still. I don’t know how to rest, to not always be a busy bee in one way or another. It can become unhealthy when you start neglecting self-care and instead continue to do a million things. It is important to be self-aware, to recognize when things are too much. Some tell tale signs for me are when things that I enjoy seem more like chores than fun activities to engage in, when I get snappy with people and when I start making mistakes. That is when I scale down a bit and try to focus on less things all at once. But believe me, I will always go back to being the multitasking octopus. I like being squishy like that.