Stop Multi-Tasking: 3 Ways to be More “Present” in Your Tasks

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Are you a multi-tasker?  Do you have trouble staying focused on one thing?  Do you lose things, break things, forget things?  I have good news for you!  I can help you stop multi-tasking.  In fact, there really is no such thing as multi-tasking.  When you think about it, you can truly only be doing one thing at a time.  When we multi-task, we are splitting our time between multiple things, but we are only focused on one thing at any given moment.  For example, if you eat in front of the television, your attention and focus is going back and forth from the screen to your plate and back again.  You’re not fully engaged in either activity.  The same holds true for eating at your desk at work.

Another way this shows up in your life is by over estimating how much you can get done, so you try and do several things at once.  I reference a story about this in my book I Have Today:  Find Your Passion, Purpose and Smile…Finally!  Have you ever experienced trying to do too much at once, then you start dropping things, or forgetting things, or losing things?  That’s because you’re not supposed to be doing too many things at once.  Our brain can’t handle it.

What I learned is when you live in the present moment, and stay present on the task in front of you, you remain calmer, your mind stays clearer, and you can get things done faster and more efficiently.  I also learned that it does not matter what the task is…whether it is cooking, doing laundry, paying bills, working out, driving, working…when you focus on what you’re doing and feel gratitude and appreciation for it, the experiences become more pleasurable.  When you multi-task, you are spending time in your future and not your NOW!

Here are three ways to become more present in all you do:

Write Down the Areas Where You Struggle the Most

By doing this exercise, you’ll be able to identify your patterns.  What will surface for you is that you’ll find the areas of struggle are around the things you least like to do.  This is valuable information.  It leads into Step 2…

Learn to Appreciate the Tasks You Don’t Like to Do

We all have things that we must do, and some of them are things we really don’t enjoy doing.  But, what if you turned that into an opportunity to find some joy in the task?  For example, I don’t enjoy doing laundry.  To make it more pleasurable, while I’m doing it I think about how lucky I am that I have a washer and dryer, clean running water, how convenient it is to do, and how many people around the world don’t have that.  Those thoughts make the experience much more enjoyable.

“Time Block” in Your Calendar and Schedule Everything You Can

This is a great technique!  This allows you to be in control of your time.  Schedule days and times and make appointments with yourself to do as much as you can think of.  That way, when it’s time to do a task, you only need to focus on that task!  Time blocking also gives you a deadline to get it done, so there’s no procrastinating.  In fact, it becomes a game to get it done faster!  For instance, I gave myself a two-hour window to write this blog.  I will get it done with time to spare!  The sense of accomplishment feels so good!

We can only live each day a moment at a time.  And, we don’t get them back.  So, you may as well enjoy AS MANY as possible…with both the tasks you enjoy and even the ones you don’t.  By staying present, you’ll enjoy every experience more and more.  Trust me, your lunch tastes so much better when you sit and relax to eat it.  Enjoy the food.  Enjoy the experience.  Your emails and texts can wait until later.

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Quote:   “Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” – Buddha


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