I used to love multi-tasking. Especially as a busy working mother, I would do all at once, cook, tidy up and while talking on the phone, put the laundry out to dry while my computer was updating and I was gesturing at my kids to keep their voice down while playing on PlayStation. I would run between my desk and the kitchen, listening to an important webinar while the TV was on silent and I was preparing a light dinner or answering emails –or both!…It gives me a headache to even think about it now!
Multi-tasking is a trap that does not make us more productive, it actually makes us frantic, less focused and eventually exhausted. Even worse, it makes us irritable and impatient with our loved ones, with family and friends, as our attention gets dispersed between talking to them and thinking about that last email or phone call from work….
According to studies multi-tasking decreases our productivity by 60% and our IQ by 10%. Do you really want to do that to yourself? Multi-tasking triggers our brain into overdrive and especially, as you may have guessed, social media, pop ups, notifications and so on cause us to pay attention to every little distraction and disturbance, instead of the main task we actually want to focus on.
Do you get the feeling from time to time that there are not enough hours in the day, that you are constantly on a treadmill and chasing after the next task, or rather 5 or 10 of them…? Often fretting in the evening, or even at night, that you have not completed them? Do you feel that you are never in the present, never in the moment, as your mind races constantly, into the future and then back to the past…but you are actually NEVER here, in the present moment?
And then there is this thing called THE FLOW. We have all experienced it, but it seems like a distant memory, maybe. The feeling you get when you are totally immersed in what you are doing, giving it your best and full attention – naturally. Your mind is calm, though working fully, and you are CREATING. Nothing else and no one else is present, you lose sense of time, you just feel the fulfilment and expansion…
I have a friend who is an artist and I’d get frustrated sometimes when I could not get in touch with him, because he left his mobile phone at home! But what a lesson to learn! Honouring your time with yourself, with your creative flow or just taking the time to re-charge- is priceless!
People actually pay to get excluded from all modern-day distractions in order to spend some quality time with – themselves! The boom in the retreat industry is one testament to that (I do love retreats by the way!). Also, we buy apps that tell us what to do, when and how to do it; we work with coaches and mentors to help us prioritise what we know we should prioritise anyway….
Whether it is studying, creating or doing mundane work, the key is to pace yourself in a such a way that you can complete what you set yourself to do, without stressing out! Turn off all the distractions, the phone, the notifications on your computer, the TV, or whatever else is there that may be tugging at your attention. Close your eyes and just breathe for a few minutes and then immerse yourself fully in whatever you are doing. A true sense of fulfilment will follow – not just the temporary feel-good kick that you have crossed off that item on your to do list.