Eating is Not an Exercise in Multitasking

Cubicle series: the MultitaskerI read this FABULOUS post by funny motivational speaker, Colette Carlson about the life-saving importance of getting enough sleep. In it she talked about how stressful our lives can be when we frequently do things like grab lunch at our desk. I read the post thinking, "Yup. Yup. I do that. That's true." And off I went about my day.

About an hour later I made lunch for myself and, still thinking about Colette's post, I resisted the impulse (and oh it was a HUGE automatic, unthinking one) to take my salad back to my desk in my office and work while I ate.  I put the salad down on the breakfast bar, took a deep breath and said to myself, "No. Just sit down and eat." 

Before I took a seat, I started looking for the television remote so I could watch the morning news show I'd recorded, but couldn't find it anywhere. My next thought was – the iPad. I'll read today's paper. No iPad. Then I thought, is there anyone I need to call? Maybe I could get a call returned during this time…

What? Wait. Are you kidding me? I was suddenly struck with this horrific awareness that it wasn't just about eating at my desk – it was about doing something WHILE I was eating – regardless of where I was. I felt oddly guilty and unproductive if I wasn't using "eating" time to get something else accomplished at the same time!  

Do you do this? Do you try and squeeze every drop of productivity out of your day by multitasking during a meal?  Here is a PARTIAL list of things I have done while eating:

  • Ironing
  • Showering (I know – this defies logic)
  • Driving
  • Walking the dogs
  • Cleaning house
  • Watering plants
  • Getting dressed to go out

Oh let's leave it there.  Here's the bottom line. Maybe we would benefit by taking a few minutes to just…eat.  To pay attention to our food while we eat. To be thankful for the nourishment we are receiving. To chew our food well (oh now THERE'S a concept.)  And hey, if you want to have great family conversation time while eating dinner, I say fabulous. If it is relaxing to you to read a book while eating, then more power to you. But maybe, just maybe we could make a conscious choice sometimes to make a meal a Multitasking-Free Zone.

From your motivational speaker Linda Larsen, who…ahem…sort of….um…ate her salad while writing this blog. Clearly, I teach the things I need to learn…



Motivational Speaker Linda Larsen, CSP has been described by meeting planners and audiences as "hysterically funny," and "riveting." Known for her ability to connect on an authentic and emotional level with audiences, her spontaneous sense of humor, and her engaging and powerful stories, Linda is passionate about sharing ideas to help people live their finest, best, and most productive lives. Her riveting and true story of being kidnapped and held hostage at gunpoint by an escaped convict, and the strategies she used to escape, will give people the tools THEY need to rise above any of life's toughest challenges, to communicate more effectively with THEIR difficult person, and to find creative solutions to THEIR problems. To book motivational speaker, Linda Larsen: 941-927-4700

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  1. Linda, I LOVE this for more reasons than you know. First off, since the New Year I've been forcing (yes that is the word I will use) myself to go outside to eat lunch and get some Vitamin D rather than eat at my desk. When I get my sorry butt out there, I love it! Watched two hawks play together the other day, listened to the birds chirping and noticed how the bird of paradise is blooming.

    Ironically, when I went to therapy years ago to deal with my obsessive eating issues, my brilliant counselor helped me to realize that the "only" time I allowed myself to stop and either watch some TV or read a book was when I ate. Otherwise I had to be productive! Through her guidance I learned to give myself permission to do those pleasurable things without the food. I didn't have to multi-task my pleasure away. So, I had to learn to just eat. Nothing else. It was painful. But I learned long ago that growth and comfort are incompatible.

    Now that I'm not stuffing but rather speaking my truth, I no longer have to eat compulsively. BUT I still find myself wanting to read or watch TV when eating rather than simply enjoy the pleasures in my mouth. Gotta go, it's past lunch time out here in my time zone. Good thing its sunny!

    • Wow, Colette. I'm thinking we might be two peas in the proverbial pod. You are clearly ahead of me on this learning curve, but I will learn from you and get better! Takes consciousness, doesn't it? Sigh. Not one of my most well developed skills. But thanks again for bring all this awareness to the table! 

  2. Why is it that we don't give eating a meal enough importance to do just that and nothing else??  Ever since my 2 sons moved out and we didn't have chatty dinners at the table any more, I find that the only way I can just, eat, is to go out on my back porch.  Otherwise I look for something to read, ANYTHING!  What is that?  Thanks for keeping me aware of behaviors that don't favor my health.

  3. Does this mean I can't eat standing up anymore over the kitchen sink? Out of the can?  My husband and I just had this conversation today about whether we remembered to eat breakfast. Neither of us could answer – we were simply too absorbed to even remember if we ate breakfast THIS MORNING! I still don't know. Yikes. Wake up call. Motivational speakers talk about life balance. Maybe I should listen better. And by the way, I did have lunch. I do remember that. It was while I was talking on the phone and telling Will he should pay attention to his lesson. :)

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