Single Tasking: Get more done through mindfulness
Chapter 14 from the CHANGE JOURNAL »
We often live by the motto “More means more.” In real life, however, that’s not always the case. Maybe you have heard of the economic theories of “marginal productivity” or “marginal utility” before. Both indicate that in a business context, for example, purchasing another machine doesn’t always turn out to be profitable. This also applies to personal situations when people are involved. Suppose we try to accomplish too much, especially to get too many things done simultaneously. In that case, this can quickly diminish the outcome.
Meanwhile, various scientific studies have established that multitasking is not really beneficial. So the slogan should read, “better less and right”. But how do you promote that in a society that strives for “faster, better, and more”?
The answer is – mindfulness! Whatever you may want to do, be present. Focus one hundred percent on one thing at a time, no matter how trivial the activity may be – like brushing your teeth, answering emails, or even walking. Instead of thinking about the next task, let alone doing two things at once, train your consciousness to stay in the moment – in the here and now.
How can this be achieved? Try practicing mindfulness in every- day life. This doesn’t require you to meditate or be a yogi. Pick an activity for the next 7 days and remember to be especially mindful when performing it each day. It could even be an unavoidable activity, such as climbing stairs, for example:
You consciously ascend each step. Eating is another excellent example: Try chewing each and every bit one bite at a time, and chew for as long as possible before you actually swallow. You will realize that even such small changes in your consciousness will lead to higher productivity in other areas of life. You will gain focus – and this will lead to more success.