My multitasking met its match this week, when I finally left work a bit early on Friday with a case of the flu. I could not keep anything down, had a temperature of over 100, and with weakness so quick and intense that it took me nearly 20 minutes to struggle walking the 3 blocks from the train, it had all the symptoms of the flu. All the symptoms except it did not last the 3 to 5 days I remember.
I got the flu shot, and believe that is the reason why it was not as severe as it was in my early 20′s, when I lived alone and was unable to get out of bed for 5 days.
What is the lesson for multitasking? Well, quite frankly, it stops. All the plans I had for replying to my students’ blogs and forum posts? Stopped. Working with the class I am taking? Halted. Preparing to turn a peer-reviewed abstract into a full paper? No chance. Consulting? Forget it. Work, play, walking the dogs, reading? None of them. The flu, and anything unforeseen, ruins all of the overplanning we do. Multitasking stops completely. Even this posting itself is being done from my BlackBerry while recovering upstate by the fire with the snow gently falling outside.
The lesson? In finally being able to think a bit more clearly after being in a fog for days, I am wondering if multitasking and planning every last moment of available time leaves no time and energy for the unplanned.
Perhaps this is something I should, ironically, begin to plan for?