A Friendly Recap
Legends! To be honest mindfulness march has been challenging. My plan has been derailed. My second post is late. But in true ‘best self’ fashion, I am back on track and practicing my Superhero Habits! If you need a reminder, go back to February’s posts about habits, and refresh your commitment as a Habit Ninja! Do it!
So last post we discovered that mindfulness gives you superpowers! Yeah that’s right! If you haven’t read it, check it out right now.
This week we are building on the foundations of last post and using the power of mindfulness to practice single tasking! But to set the context, lets first explore the contrary…multi-tasking.
The Illusion of Multi-tasking
“As the old saying goes, a man with one watch always knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure.” ~ Daniel Levitin
So many of us believe we can effectively multi-task. However this has been shown to be a powerful and diabolical illusion! Research reveals that our brains are not wired to multi-task. When people think they are multi-tasking, what they are actually doing is rapidly switching from one task to another very rapidly. This rapid switching comes at a huge cognitive cost! Multi-tasking creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and searching for external stimulation. Multi-tasking actually causes a higher cognitive loss than smoking marijuana! Wow! Multi-tasking is effectively ‘mind-less’ activity. So how do we transfer from ‘mind-less’ attention, to ‘mindful’ attention?
One At A Time
The best way to practice mindful attention is to engage in tasks ‘one at a time’. As we learned last post, “practicing mindfulness helps us become aware of our thoughts at any given time, and this helps us decide which thoughts to pay attention to, and ignore.” This is important because when you first practice ‘single tasking’, you will undoubtably experience a mental pull to do something else. Your brain would rather seek a quick attention fix (‘mental candy’) over sustained focus on one important task! But with your new superpowers you can ignore that pull and stay focused. Consistently doing one task at a time uses less cognitive energy, and makes you more productive!! A double whammy!
Set Yourself Up for a Mindful Day
Each morning I like to sit with my journal for 5 minutes and plan my day. I typically choose 3 tasks that are the most critical in moving me towards my goals, and focus on completing them before the days end. I practice doing the hardest one first, or as Mark Twain calls it “Eating the frog” (If you do the hardest thing first, the rest of the day is a cake walk!). I find that this practice (one of my superhero habits) sets me up for a focused and mindful day! Simple and effective! Just make sure that when you start each task you commit to it until it is finished. No multi-tasking!! Help yourself out and reduce or remove all possible distractions e.g. internet, phone, people etc…
Call to Action
I encourage you to practice single tasking this week! Before you start your day, reflect on your goals and choose 2-3 tasks that will effectively move you in their direction. Let me know how you go by posting to the Facebook page here 🙂 Have an awesome week and remember to be your best self!!
If you found these ideas really interesting, check out the below book (of which I referenced for this article):
Levitin, Daniel. (2014). The Organised Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload.