Single Tasking

 If your life is like most people’s these days, you are doing several things at once. We make lists and try to squeeze in one more thing before we are out the door, or off to bed.  And if you aren’t doing several things, you are worrying about what you aren’t doing right now.   
I’m tired. I’m sick of doing three things at once and only getting to really pay attention to a third of any of it. Some of this comes with kids, the little people need your attention, after all. Some of it is, well, I don’t really know. Maybe it’s a culture shift that means you are available 24/7, to everyone. Or perhaps it’s all the information we have all the time. I’m not sure. 

What I have noticed is that I’m enjoying less of what I do, and simultaneously wanting to do less. I find I’ve eaten a meal so fast I can’t really remember if it was good. I watch a tv show and I can’t recall it the next morning. Books I’ve read recently have flown out of my head as fast as I read them. Doing things, even fun things, feels like a chore. And I don’t need more of those, thanks. 

After the kids’ bed time, I usually have a couple of hours to myself, before I collapse in a pile of sleepy me, to do things that require a bit more focus. This is when I write, draw, paint, knit, etc. It is also my free time to read, watch tv shows or movies, or listen to music. I had been stacking things up to do. I’d read and knit. Or draw and watch tv. Write and check my phone eleventy billion times. 

Nightly free time was starting to feel like a task on my to-do list, rather than some down time to just be me. And I discovered that I was putting it off. I’d sit and play mindless games on my phone and suddenly it would be bed time, and nothing would have been done. Then I’d be mad at myself for wasting time. 

It was not working. In the last couple weeks I’ve been stopping and really thinking about what I want to do each night. Then, I do just the one thing. A single focused task. When I’m at a stopping point, I don’t look for more to do, I go to sleep. 

It’s starting to be fun again. I’m still getting things accomplished, but I don’t feel overwhelmed as often. I am getting more rest, and I’m able to relax and get into whatever I’m doing. It’s easier all around. 

I’m trying to do this during the day as well. I want to show the kids that doing just one thing is okay. It’s alright to just watch a movie. Or just sit and read a book. Or have a conversation. It’s a challenge some days. There is a lot that wants my attention each day. 

Are you a multitasker? Or do you like to do one thing at a time?

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Single Tasking

  1. I live an anxiety lifestyle, but want to lean into calm and stillness. Right now I multitask to stay numb. Tricky stuff! I like your idea of one thing each night. It sounds mindful and intentional. ❤

    Like

  2. That sounds like a good strategy. 🙂

    When I write, I only write. When I read, I only read. When I work, I concentrate on one task at a time.

    The rest of the time, I’m usually doing two things simultaneously — watching a TV show or listening to music while knitting/drawing/playing online scrabble/baking/etc.

    I’ve trained myself to pick up a book and read when I’m feeling antsy vs. reaching for my laptop or phone. I do a lot on the computer, but nowadays it’s mostly intentional vs. procrastinational.

    Like

Comments are closed.