Doing One Thing At a Time
It’s automatic: you wake up, check your phone, grab breakfast on the go, head to work, check your phone, send a text, call your clients, and begin working. You do all of this without ever really noticing what’s going on.
You don’t have to pay attention to everything at all once, but you should pay attention to the here and now. This isn’t a new concept, but it can be revolutionary. It’s like zen–if you are totally focused, totally engrossed in one thing at a time, you can experience that thing fully. You can actually be there instead of running through the motions. You can communicate more fully with your customers; you can design more focused brands; you can actually connect with what you’re doing.
How many things are you focused on right now? How many tabs are open on your computer? How many text messages are you in the middle of? The urge to do more, be more, and see, touch, taste, more–all at once–is all around us. So how do we stop it? Well, we can’t. Not really. And we don’t really need to stop it, but we do need to take a step back.
Prioritize what you’re doing. It’s not about doing more or doing less, it’s about engaging fully with each activity you participate in. Are you creating a blog? Don’t watch T.V., send an email, or flip through websites at the same time. Are you at work? Stick to a minimum-tab rule: don’t open more tabs on your computer than you need at any one time. If you’re driving to work, don’t worry about the 10 things you have to do when you get there, focus on the road. Focus on the moment you’re in.
You may realize that all of this is important, but it might be hard to see why. It’s pretty simple–we can’t actually multitask. We can shift tasks quickly. But whenever we shift tasks, our brains can get overwhelmed. That makes it harder to get stuff done, harder to finish tasks, and, more importantly, harder to be here now.