I’m a firm believer that multitasking is a recipe for disaster or at the very least, a promise that nothing will be done well. I know it makes people feel busy and important and all that, but it really is among the dumbest habits we’ve glorified in recent decades.
I knew that before, but I proved it to myself again this week.
I sometimes sit at my desk at work with fifteen things to do and zero ability to complete, or even make decent progress on any. The more I spin, the less effective I become. So I reminded myself that this is a great truth I have already learned and I stopped, took a step back and decided to focus on what I wanted to do first. I threw my whole self into completing that task and it was not only done, getting it done was also somewhat enjoyable. Then I moved onto the next thing and same. Next, same. You’re seeing the same pattern I saw.
It was actually so rewarding that I started to wonder what would happen if I did this in all aspects of my life: when I walk, when I spend time with people, when I eat, shower, read, whatever. What would happen if I gave my whole attention to exactly what I was doing in every moment? This would mean intentional decisions about everything I did. Imagine deciding to use your time for one task and completely devoting your attention to it. Not only would you actually do it – and more efficiently and effectively – but you also get to enjoy it more. ????????
So, I started to try to remind myself in every moment that I am where I am as a result of a series of influences and that no matter what they were there is a reason for it. I try to remain open to any signs about the how or the why.
- This meeting is the only thing I’m thinking about right now
- I am enjoying every sip of this water
- Walking up this flight of stairs is the only thing on my mind right now
- I’m taking the next ten minutes to text my friend
- When the show starts, watching it is the only thing I will do until it is over
- This is exactly the person I want to be talking to right now
You get the picture. And do you know what I found? It made me feel calmer and happier when I could keep it on track. If my mind started wandering, I’d just approach it like I do during meditation – acknowledge it and let it go. If something – an idea or task that I needed to give some attention to – came up, I’d just write it down to return to later.
This is the essence of mindfulness, of course. Do you make a point of practicing intention and purpose? If so, please tell me how you apply it. For me, this week and my full devotion has been a game changer.