#IOTW: Idioms for overwhelmed multitasker

Have you ever tried to do more than one thing at a time, e.g., tasks or activities? Did you succeed in accomplishing all of them?

Well, I always try to find occasions where I can squeeze more activities while doing another because I always have so much things that I want to do. Sometimes I succeed because they’re relatively easy, like ironing my clothes while listening to a thought-provoking podcast. But sometimes I fail, like when I tried singing along to my playlist while writing. I ended up writing what I sang! And apparently, that’s a problem that a lot of us have in common, that there are actually several idioms about doing multiple things at the same time. So now I want to share you some of those idioms about doing multiple things at the same time, or as we like to call it, multitasking.
1. To walk and chew gum (at the same time): to be able to do more than one thing at a time.
  • Example:
    • You’re the kind of person who walks and chew gum at the same time, so I guess this task load won’t be a problem for you.
2. To spread oneself too thin: to try to do too many things at once.
  • Example:
    • I think Sarah is spreading herself too thin, she takes 10 courses this semester, works at the lab, and teaches several private students.
3. To have too many irons in the fire: to be engaged in too many activities.
  • Example:
    • Would you please do the dishes tonight? I’m having too many irons in the fire right now to do the chores.
4. Torn between something and something: finding it very difficult to choose between two possibilities.
  • Example:
    • I’m torn between writing my field trip report and writing the new article for my community.
Wow, at this point it starts to get a more and more overwhelming, right, fellas?
5. To rob Peter to pay Paul: to pay a debt, obligation, etc. by creating or leaving unpaid another.
  • Example:
    • I haven’t finished sewing the blue dress, but I’m gonna have to rob Peter to pay Paul again, because I only have 6 hours to knit this hat.
6. To burn the candle at both ends: to work oneself from early in the morning until late at night and get very little rest.
  • Example:
    • He has to burn the candle at both ends every day if he wants to be able to cover his family expenses.
7. To fall between two stools: to fail to achieve either of two aims as a result of not being able to choose one to focus on.
  • Example:
    • We need to narrow our target now in order not to fall between two stools.
Is there any idiom that relates with your multitasking activity right now, fellas? Which idiom is it?

Compiled and written by @Fafafin for @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, February 2, 2017

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