In the last few years, I’ve discovered the art of single-tasking. However, this wasn’t always the norm for me. Up until a few years ago, multi-tasking seemed like the most efficient way for me to juggle various tasks at the same time. I felt at my most productive when I was ticking things off my to-do list. It seemed to have a positive impact on my life, at work and I continued with it at home as well. While preparing dinner, I’d do my household chores while also doing all the other things that come with running a business.
Over time, multi-tasking became more than just a habit - it was a way I went about my day. It was rare for me to be single-tasked focused - doing only one thing at a time - like eating my breakfast without staring at the computer screen. By the end of the day, when I’d finally finished ticking off all my tasks in a chaotic scramble, I felt restless, anxious, and disconnected. It was a struggle to find calm as I moved throughout the day.
By doing various tasks at the same time, we no longer move through each moment with intention, but simply going through the motions. I believe that each intention holds energy (whether negative or positive). And by doing things without intent, without thought, without focus, we’re not giving this task our positive energy in order to truly experience the moment. As a result, we end up gliding along the surface of our experiences - failing to go deeper.
A few years ago, I decided that this needed to change. I created a little mindful challenge for myself in order to re-establish a habit - to be more single task-focused. Over the years, this is what I’ve learned about the art of single-tasking:
Throughout our day, it’s so common for us to become easily distracted - by other people and by our own thoughts. When you’re in multitasking mode, you’ll find yourself typically reacting to these distractions; obviously you’ll want to action these tasks immediately. Instead, what you should do is gently remind yourself to pause whenever a distraction comes along, connect back to the present moment, sit with your thoughts, and set your intentions on completing one task first. After a bit of practice, it’ll become simple and easy to do. While we accept that distractions will always continue to flood in, consciously choosing where to invest our energy makes all the difference.
By pouring positive energy into every little thing we do, we’re able to experience the moment holistically and with gratitude and intuition. Try applying this to even the simplest of tasks - whether it’s making a cup of tea or washing the dishes. You’ll find yourself feeling a lot calmer throughout the day. As a result, you’ll find that this aspect of single-tasking will help you appreciate the little things in your day so much more.
One of the reasons why many people multi-task is because they want to feel more productive. They want to control the situation because that’s what they think will give them the best result. However, you have to know that this is not feasible - after all, you’re only human. Perhaps you also have your own conscious business or are a busy creative and you just crave more space in your day.
So, give yourself space to do one task at a time - without the added pressure of having to do everything on your list. While you will still need to prioritize your tasks, you need to tune into your intuition more to do that. By understanding what feels right for you in the moment, you’ll be able to focus on the task at hand.
I’m sure a big distraction for you is when random ideas come to mind. Something you should do is write these ideas down once you complete the task you were doing. This means you can keep track of the things that inspire you throughout the day without worrying about forgetting them.
Try this for a day and see the zen and zing it brings into your life. Ever since I started single-tasking, I’ve felt a lot more calm, connected, and energized throughout the day.