Multitasking a boon for work/family life balance

Mainstream media almost uniformly blasts on the stress of daily life facilitated by "Crackberries", wifi, laptops and multitasking in general. However, for working parents balancing work and family life, the "always on" life makes complete sense for certain character types who are comfortable with peripatetic multitasking.

At the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, at chess tournaments and other indoor competitions, parents wait for their children to finish practice or matches in wifi-enabled lounges working on their laptops. The new Conservatory opened last September, and the architects made the common mistake of wiring for too few outlets so there's always a rush for plug position on Saturday mornings.

To me, work efficiency makes life less stressful... I would rather spend that hour or two waiting for my children to finish practice on the laptop than wasting time driving back and forth. Moreover, the kids are used to it, they know that when they are finished, they get my full attention. I feel invigorated knowing I've accomplished something during idle "spare time".

Old school sociological thought espouses that the blurring of work and family life is inherently stressful, and I can't understand why there's no counterpoint. Maybe I'm the exception, but I meet many parents plugged in at the Conservatory who think the same way I do. Again, is this mainstream media bias to latch onto the negatives of a sea change lifestyle trend because it upsets the status quo? They always do.

I'll bet most readers of this blog think the way I do... slap up a comment - yes or no?


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  • 2/18/2008 5:12 AM Tim O'Keefe wrote:
    I coach a youth football team.
    I often see parents taking care of idle time sending out blackberry messages and some doing laptop work.

    I am all for effiency. However, the blurr between family life and work life can make family life less focused.

    How many great plays are these parents missing of thier little boy doing something that to the parent is minimal, but to the child monumental?
    Reply to this
    1. 2/18/2008 7:38 AM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Yes, I draw the line on real life - I want to experience that... I'm only online in waiting mode when there's nothing else to do...

      Reply to this

  • 2/18/2008 5:47 AM Jim Lee wrote:
    I do not see anything wrong with getting some work done while waiting for anyone; kids, spouse, or friend.

    Today's technologies makes many workplaces wherever you happen to be at the moment.
    Reply to this

  • 2/18/2008 9:21 AM Chosen Cheng wrote:
    If I'm just waiting in the car I'll go online. If I'm in the same room or in the bleachers I will be there 100% and enjoy the opportunity to relate with other parents. I've been told that I can easily zone out when online and not pay attention to what is going on around me and I need to be watchful of that. The good thing is that if I am at the event the whole while whether online or not I am not guilty of being late picking the kids up.
    Reply to this

  • 2/19/2008 11:46 AM Bob Woods wrote:
    I'm like Chosen, actually. If I'm waiting somewhere, I'll either go online or look up something on the ol' iPhone. But if I'm actively doing something, I'm with them all the way. I don't have kids, but this can apply to being with friends, other family members, at a game of some kind, etc.

    There's a fine line between multitasking and being neglectful; I try my best to stay away from it.
    Reply to this

  • 2/20/2008 5:32 AM Terminix wrote:
    Lol love that pic. I would actually buy a setup like that if there is one. Just for the laugh of course.
    Reply to this
  • 2/20/2008 6:36 AM Shawn Russell, Realtor wrote:
    I'm sorry, but I sincerly believe that your actions most clearly point to your priorities. If you are focused on your tech gadgets and "work", your family is effected, whether you own up to it or not. This is an issue that I have just recently begun to deal with more honestly and I would suggest others do the same. If someone else (your kids)perceives your focus is elsewhere, then that is their reality.
    Reply to this
  • 2/22/2008 6:37 AM London Estate Agents wrote:
    This is quality
    Reply to this

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