the myth of multi-tasking

This is something I have been guilty of in a big way. Even when I was teaching mindfulness and awareness to my Yoga students I had a hard time practicing what I was preaching. Checking my cell phone while they were in Savasana… I have almost worn it with pride for so many years that I can do many many things at once. Rarely giving it thought beyond a sense of accomplishment that I can , and do, keep all the balls juggled.

We are, as a culture and as a society, distracted. We are rarely doing just one thing. And the sad fact is that there’s no reason  for that. We don’t HAVE to. We CHOOSE to. When was the last time you waited in line at a store or for your coffee and didn’t check your phone or some other little task to keep you from doing nothing? We have gotten to the point of being so uncomfortable with silence, with nothing, that we find ways to fill every space in our lives, no matter how few the minutes or how much we desperately need that breather.

Lately, I’ve been trying something different at work along these lines. I start my day and make my list of things that need to get done or that need my attention. Then prioritize and create my task list for the day. Yes, I’m a wee bit of a control freak and lists make me happy ;). Anyways… Instead of the usual approach of trying to do everything on the list , concurrently, I put one thing to my centre of attention. that’s my focus and my central task. That’s it. One thing. And I see that task, with singular focus, from start to finish. And an amazing thing happens. One thing gets done quickly and completely and very well. Then I move on to the next thing and repeat the process.

Now granted, sometimes things pop up that require me to shelve item one and deal with the fire that just cropped up. that’s life. But that’s an exception now, not the norm.

There are days , more often than not actually, that my list isn’t all done at the end of the day , but you know what? I end the day with tasks fully and outstandingly complete. Complete. Instead of a task list mostly done but filled with notes to follow-up and needed things to wrap up because many things were done “mostly” complete and ok, good, but not great.

Adopting that to other aspects of my life… Watching a keynote speech and making a conscious decision to put my phone away in my backpack and not look at. to not check texts or emails. to be fully and completely singular in my attention and focus.

Setting intentions for experiences and trying to be true to them. My intention being kept mindfully in the forefront. Another way to single task.

Time is finite and valuable… I’m finding that being conscious of how I choose to spend my time is more and more important to me as I practice awareness of how I utilize the time I have.

Whether it’s for work or play, the moments I have are too precious to  not  give them the attention and the focus they deserve.

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