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Multitasker? How To Keep It Healthy

woman multitasking
Partner
Self

How to multitask without letting it stress you out.

Appreciate Happiness When It Hits
Multitasking can blind you to a lovely experience because you're distracted by other worries. "You don't want to be at a social event thinking about your butt," says Birndorf. You also don't want to be stressing about work at your kid's school play or focusing on the dirty bathroom while out to dinner with your husband. According to a recent study out of the University of North Carolina, happiness lies in the little moments: People who felt gratitude for the small gestures made by their partners (like planning a nice meal or picking up a cup of good coffee) were far happier in their relationships than those who didn't. So once in a while, take a breath, forget about your goals and commitments, and simply appreciate the little things as they happen: a cup of tea with your mom, an afternoon walk with a friend or an hour reading a great novel on your couch.

Take Stock of Your Own Life
Multitaskers often feel compelled to give their time to everyone, from kids to friends to bosses. "Not only do we demand this of ourselves, but we allow others to demand it of us," says Birndorf. Step back from the melee and see where you can pull back: Is it housework? At the office? With social commitments? There are usually a few areas where a person is especially overtaxed. "Find out where you're giving too much," says Birndorf. Be realistic: The kids, for example, could make their own breakfast; you could skip the book club; and your partner would survive if you ordered pizza once in a while. Recognizing just a few needless obligations can make a world of difference.

Ask for Help
Once you figure out what's bringing you down, find a solution. Invest in a housecleaner, hire a babysitter or ask your boss for some relief. Asking for help can inspire guilt in perfectionist multitaskers, but Birndorf notes that it's about self-responsibility. "You can blame everyone for taking your time away from you, but you're the one who keeps giving," she says. "It's not always an easy road and takes practice and you may be rejected, but if you're direct, straightforward and honest, you should have a good chance of getting what you need."

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.