Eventually, I realized something significant: I never did what I was doing. For example, when I got dressed in the morning, I didn’t get dressed. Instead, I spent that time filtering much incoming stimuli: The TV, email, my children’s progress towards getting ready for school and so on. My mind wasn’t on what was happening: Selecting clothing. Buttoning a shirt. Tying a shoe. Tightening a belt.
With the problem identified, I worked on eliminating it. In the morning, I turned off the TV and the computer and just got dressed. I even told myself, “I’m getting dressed.” It was nice! I found that I appreciate that I have the motor skills required to dress myself. I found that I have nice clothes. I found that my backyard looks nice in the morning through the bedroom window, and I can look down on the berry patch and rhubarb plants.
Great post about our culture of compulsive multitasking. I’ve noticed I try to make my time “more useful” by listening to podcasts while doing other things, or continuously processing (sorting) information for now or later, optimizing task flows, and so on. Before we’re done doing one thing, we’re already mentally doing another, and it is tiring. But it seems necessary. I’m beginning to think what’s really necessary is doing the current thing well and enjoying it. Even if you have a naturally multitasking brain (or think you do), this change of state could be a refreshing thing to try.
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