THE DOWNSIDE OF MULTI-TASKING
I’m not the only one multi-tasking. I can look around and see people multi-tasking everywhere. My friends, my family, my team at work, my children – pretty much most people I come in contact with, socially and professionally, are all juggling a hundred and one things, thoughts, and actions at once. Or, trying to at least.
But who says it’s a good thing?
Is it really a fulfilling way to live our lives?
I guess if it's all about completing tasks then yes. BUT it can be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting and in some cases – debilitating when it all becomes just too much. Why do we ask this of ourselves? Social pressure, individual pressure, career pressure? What if slowing things down actually meant we were even more productive and as a bonus were able to find more joy in the tasks we were embarking upon?
One thing that I’ve discovered through this current Covid 19 experience is that I spend 95% of my life multi-tasking and I'm only to aware that it’s to do with the stage of life I’m in as well.
I’m always thinking about the next event, or planning dinner, or texting a friend to stay in touch, messaging myself a shopping list, emailing permission for a school activity, gathering the canteen money, or even driving to work while listening to a podcast and making a mental list of my commitments for the day – all at once!
Just typing all of that exhausts me.
In fact I was discussing this exact issue with a dear friend today and how we all need to stop this crazy multi-tasking expectation and actually slow ourselves down to “mono-task”. But is that even possible?
So how has my life changed through this time in isolation and what has “mono-tasking” got to do with it?
Well one fabulous thing that I have done is commit to the Mindful in May program that runs each year online with incredible daily speakers and guided meditations and I have loved it. I will definitely be signing up for 2021 and encouraging everyone to get on board with me.
It came along at a time when after closing down all my face to face yoga classes I was thrown quickly into supporting my husband with our business and children with home schooling, and learning new tech to teach online – so there was very little time for rest or space in my life for luxuries.
So while my normal meditation practice was continuing I found that the beautiful bonus was that I was able to focus more on harnessing this new daily “mindfulness practice” and allow it to filter into the craziness of my days.
With this renewed commitment to being more single focused in my attention and mindfulness through May I discovered myself driving home from work last week listening to a super interesting podcast only to find that my thoughts had floated away planning an event and finally when I caught myself I realised that I had missed a good 15 minutes of the podcast.
So rather than ignoring this fact and reprimanding my mind for being kidnapped away, I simply turned off the podcast and let my thoughts run away for as long as it required. Then I just rewound my podcast and began again. This time, giving it my full attention.
(I guess I was day-dreaming and planning – but it gave me great joy, so why not let our thoughts run free?
When was the last time you found yourself day-dreaming?)
On another occasion I caught myself sitting down to read a book that I was thoroughly enjoying but with my phone beside me, so each time it lit up or beeped my attention was taken away from the book to be distracted by this piece of tech. Not only was my attention stolen away but I noticed that with each alert my heart rate increased for a few moments. I didn’t like that all. Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar.
So what did I do? Firstly I noticed what was happening and then removed my phone, put it in another room and allowed myself the time with no distractions around me at all and continued to read. Hmm, that was easy.
Even writing this blog - typing away and my phone is beeping, texts coming through, children calling me. Ok, I admit I did answer the kids calls but apart from that I turned my phone over, turned it to silent and practiced staying focused on just one task.
I'm definitely a work in progress.
I’m hoping now that I’m in the final week of Mindful in May, I can continue with some of the new found skills I have acquired and if nothing else the knowledge and confidence that I can slow down, that I can be more mindful, that I can, even amidst the hectic pace of those around me, stay on my own path and not get swept up into the racing rivers of others.
I hope that you are all managing to take some time for reflection of how your life may change for the better once “normal” life resumes, or perhaps just that you are feeling reassured that your life has really not been changed and it feels wonderful just as it.
Blessings and peace to you all,