Think about where are you right now in this moment. Are you fully concentrating on reading this post, or are you simultaneously checking your text messages, surfing the web, and eating? With technology at the center of our lives, and all of the other distractions of modern day life, it can be challenging to stay in the present moment. Most of us have been known to multi-task, possibly at times when we shouldn’t be, like texting when we’re with others, emailing under the table at meetings, and surfing the web while we’re talking on the phone. Here are a few insights into why doing one thing at a time makes better sense.
As humans, it turns out that we’re not actually good at multi-tasking. Even when we think we’re getting lots done, we’re actually being less productive than if we were focused on a single task at a time. That’s because our brains are not wired to constantly switch from task to task. It takes our brains several minutes to catch up when we do this, so contrary to popular belief, we actually lose time. Plus, we’re not as focused while multi-tasking and are more prone to making mistakes.
Multi-tasking hurts relationships.
Think about how you’d feel if someone you’re with was checking their phone or texting constantly? I’d guess that you might feel ignored, and like you’re not that important. Not good for building a relationship. Being present with someone and giving them your full attention, however, shows that you care about them, value them, and that you’re listening to what they have to say.
When we’re only doing one thing at a time, we’re more easily able to be present with a task, feeling, or idea, which then allows us to better process what we’re experiencing. Moreover, focusing allows us to stay in the present moment to be fully aware of our surroundings. Focusing on the here and now helps us to worry less and be more at ease because we’re not thinking about past or future events that may be causing worry.
As an exercise in simply-tasking, try listening to the birds sing. Nothing more. See how this experience feels.
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