I have a hard time switching from one task to another at work. I have felt this for a long time and finally realized it cognitively and put the words to it. I described it as switching costs. It takes tremendous switching costs to go from one task to another or to be distracted, by say younger visitors, and to get back to what I was doing.
As I thought more about it, I zoomed out and realized there are also tremendous switching costs when we have to switch our identity from one to another like from work to home or from mother to daughter. I think of how many Black folks code switch and the mental load it takes to do that as they navigate different social settings. Or when we have to turn off our introverted side to become more extroverted at an unfamiliar networking event.
Congruency from within helps with our personal switching costs. If we can live a life where we hold onto the same fundamental parts of ourselves at work and at home and at the PTO meeting, I think we’d be less loaded and exhausted from the switching. This doesn’t mean we can’t reserve specific parts of us that come out when we are mothering or when we are in a conversation with our partner but I do think we can start noticing where the switching costs seem high and unnecessary.