How often do you feel like you have so much on the go you don’t even know where to start?
Do you ever feel like no matter how much work you do, at the end of the day, its feels like no real process was been made?
The simple art of single-tasking is a life-changing practice. It teaches you how to do more by in fact doing less. It helps you release the need to control and teaches you how to live more mindful and joyfully in the present moment.
One step at a time…
Multi-tasking: The art of self-deception
Multi-tasking: Doing as much stuff as you can at once (often in an attempt to look busy and seem important).
Single-tasking: The practice of doing one thing at a time (and doing it well).
Multi-tasking myth 1:
Doing more stuff at once helps more things get done faster.
Work deadlines, family obligations, commitments with friends… It all begins to feel overwhelming and stressful. Even things that you normally enjoy seem less exciting because of the supressed anxiety you feel with an overflowing to-do list taking over your life.
When you do too many things at once, quantity quickly replaces quality. And how could it not? The more things you’re working on, the less attention to detail you give to a single one and the easier it becomes to make mistakes. And with mistakes comes rework, accidents, and more stress.
You can really only give your full attention to one thing (or person) at a time.
Even if you are a super hero and can juggle several things at once, how much attention can you afford to give each one of these things at a given moment? Even more relevant is how long will it be before you burn out and get too exhausted to continue?
Single-tasking myth 2:
Doing fewer things at once will get less things done.
By shifting your focus from multi-tasking to focusing on one specific thing at a time, you begin to align yourself with success. You will start to feel more energized and grounded in your own body.
You’ll begin to produce better quality work because you can actually focus. You will begin to feel healthier, less stressed, and calmer. You will begin to feel more like you.
See for yourself how single-tasking can transform your life. How it can improve the quality of your work, health, and happiness. See how you can improve your relationship with others as well as yourself just by simply loading fewer tasks on your plate each day.
Let’s take this – one step at a time.
1. Life is full of distractions.
No matter how much you try to minimize distractions, by carefully organizing and planning your life, there will always be those pesky little things that pop up and threaten to throw you off-course.
Part of the practice of single-tasking is actually accepting that there has and always will be things coming out of the blue. Once you can come to terms with the fact that life cannot be organized into a perfect little box, you begin to loosen control.
This release of control allows you to see things from a more grounded perspective. It’s here where you can begin to single-task.
I acknowledge that life is full of distractions.
2. Letting go of the need to control
Part of the lure of multi-tasking is the desire to “get stuff done” as quickly as possible. You feel this invisible pressure mounting and weighing deeply on your chest, squishing the air right from your lungs. Sometimes you might even feel like there’s so much on your plate that you can hardly breathe or that you need to look busy to fit in.
Physical manifestations of your stress and anxiety are strong reminders that your lifestyle is not sustainable. They’re your body’s desperate attempt to get your attention and remind you to change your habits.
Don’t just lower your expectations, release them completely. Learn to go with the flow, adapt, and address things as they come, one at a time. The good will be that much more exciting, and the challenging that much more manageable.
I surrender the need to control.
3. Accept that there are 24 hours per day
There are only 24 hours in each day. Becoming mindful of how you use your time is essential for single-tasking successfully.
If you try to do everything at once, these 24 hours aren’t gong to be enough to clear off your to-do list. Start by setting realistic goals and get a few manageable tasks completed. Once you get in the habit of being honest with what you can achieve in a day, you’ll find yourself getting more done.
Start to practice scheduling without overloading. Learn to say no to colleagues, friends, and family when you cannot commit to devoting your full attention to whatever they need until you have the time to do so.
Whether you are completing a work assignment, cleaning your house, or visiting relatives, just do that one thing. Give it your full attention without hesitation. You’ll produce better deliverables, see more impressive results, and have healthier relationships.
I do one thing at a time and give my all.
4. Perfection is unattainable
Instead of making perfection your target, change your focus to doing the best you can at whatever it is that you are doing. If you’re washing the dishes, wash them well. If you’re updating a boring spreadsheet, be as accurate as you can.
Take pride in your work and aim to deliver excellence, not perfection. Excellence requires you to turn your focus onto this task and use your intelligence, creativity, and innovation.
When you change your mentality from multi-tasking to single-tasking, you’ll find that you produce better quality results. You’ll feel better about the work you’re doing, it will need less re-work and you’ll find more spare time. Don’t raise the bar to perfection or you’ll miss your target every time.
I strive for excellence, not perfection.
5. Take note and then let go
Lists are an effective way to help you keep track of what you need to get done over the course of a day. They can help you stay organized, manage your time, and plan around what needs to get done. Check your list in the morning to help you organize today and write a list in the evening to help organize tomorrow.
Reduce your worries by regularly taking note of what you need to do or remember throughout the day. Leave less opportunity to forget things and cause chaotic stress later. Once you add to your list, put the list aside and continue with the task you’re working on.
Keep your list or notes accessible but out of eye sight. You know that you have lots to do or think about, but there is no use in having a huge daunting list add frustration to your day. Simply add to it, remove items off of it, and then let go knowing you will get to these things in due time.
Each time you cross something off your list, take a moment to breathe, smile, and celebrate this victory. The size of the task is irrelevant. You accomplished something and that alone is worthy of a smile.
I celebrate my mini-victories.
6. Get the worst done first
If there is a task that you are dreading more than anything on your to-do list, get it done. In fact, get it done right now.
The longer you wait, put it off or try to tackle little bits of it as you work on other things, the worse it’s going to appear. Even worse, you risk letting it interfere with the other assignments you’ve got on the go.
Get ‘er done!
Once this big looming dark cloud has been eliminated off of your to-do list, all other items seem less daunting. You’ll find it easier to concentrate on the task at hand when you don’t have the pressure of whatever it is you’ve been putting off growing and growing in the background.
Waste less time and energy by conquering this obstacle now. Don’t bother biting off little chunks of it and trying to tack it onto other projects, just do it!
Let the excitement of seeing it completed energize and excite you instead of it wearing you down.
Once you’ve finished, gift yourself with a break, whether it’s stepping away from your desk for a tea, taking a day off work, or relaxing all weekend. You’ve given this task your all, despite the fact you really didn’t want to do it and guess what? You finished it!
I get the worst done first then celebrate by gifting myself with a break.
7. Enjoy the present moment
If you’re hugging the person you love, then right now, this hug needs to be your sole focus. Enjoy the warmth, the comfort, the joy that exists in this moment.
If you’re eating a decadent chocolate cake, then right now, this cake needs to be your sole focus. Savour the rich, moist, and creamy deliciousness of this moment.
When you’re too busy to slow down and experience these simple moments of bliss, you will miss out on life’s greatest pleasures.
Single-tasking makes the joys of the present moment that much more wonderful.
I enjoy the present moment; it is the only real moment that I have.
Single-tasking can be a life-changing practice.
By learning how to do more by doing less at one time, you can become more productive, grounded, and in many cases – less stressed.
By mindfully setting to your tasks, you commit yourself to success.
One simple step at a time.