Why is it so freaking hard to do just one thing at a time?
When I first started off this blog, I was certain that I would be paying a lot of attention to monotasking–doing one thing at a time, and doing it as mindfully and deliberately as possible. What I have found over the past 273 days is that monotasking is the one thing that I probably forget to do most. In fact, I’ve only used the “monotasking” tag 11 times in nine months.
So today, once again, I was catching myself reading email on my phone while I was walking from one building to the next. And at lunch, while I ate my sandwich. And at a stoplight on the drive home. And so on.
Each time, it took a conscious effort on my part to break from the habit of doing two things at once. The phone is just a handy example. The truth is–I’m doing it all the time, and each time I do it, I am distracting myself from one task to attend to another.
Even now. I have another pot of soup on the stove, and while that is cooking, here I am doing something else.
Now, maybe standing over a pot of chicken soup seems like a dumb way to spend my time–but I think that’s the point. I keep thinking about time as something I am spending or wasting. Instead, I’d rather focus on time as something I am in the process of experiencing. Insert Bergson reading here, if you want more philosophy….
So I’m going back downstairs now, and I’m going to hang out in the kitchen. Maybe I will start some biscuits. Maybe I will set the table. But whatever I do, I want to be present for the task of preparing a meal, not distracted by the 108 other claims to my attention that will pull me out of the moment.