Our multi-tasking habit is an external reflection of what is going on with our minds. It makes sense. The demands of daily engagement mean turning our attention and focus quickly from one task to another imposed on us by our responsibilities (i.e.- work, home, social obligations), some conscious, some unconscious. Most of us hope to get more done in less time but usually moving from one thing to the next is counterproductive.
Hold on, I need to make myself some tea.
Ok. I am back. What was I saying? Right, multi-tasking. Ha...see what I did there? I am supposed to be writing this blog, but out of my multi-tasking habit and doing what I think in that exact second, I unconsciously diverted my attention to satisfy an unnecessary desire. As a chronic multi-tasker, I have been really paying attention lately to what exactly happens when we multi-task and asking is it really helping? So here are some of my key observations:
You lose attention
When you stop mid-sentence, mid-air, mid-direction, or take a quick "commercial break" to run and do the other thing that popped into your head for a split second, you are taken off course and lose track of what you were even doing in the first place. When you give into your mind or quick desire, you lose your attention.
You are going to be more exhausted at the end of the day
Being a creative person, I do believe the creation of greatness comes from these moments of back and forth, ping-ponging from one idea to the next. That is the positive side. The opposite is the habit that forms for all of us where we get stuck in the multi-tasking mind without realizing it. When you get stuck here, guaranteed you are going to feel less fulfilled and more drained at night.
Our daily habits are not making it better
Our current habits feed into the multi-tasking idea. As you are reading this, look up at your browser. How many windows do you have open? I am going to guess three or more. Most of us are drawn immediately by what our mind thinks rather than focusing in on one task alone. Or turn on any news channel and see the overly stimulating graphics and words that flash around the screen. Our minds love it. Our minds feed off of the stimulation. It gives our minds something to do. And that is where we are in the dilemma. Do our minds really need to be doing something all the time?
So here is what I leave you with. If you are interested in exploring what it would be like to shift this pattern a bit, start with this simple tip for managing your multi-tasking habit!
Let yourself multi-task, but with a limit on that activity. Set a time on it and when the time is up, consciously corral the focus onto a single task that needs to be accomplished.