My boys have this ridiculous habit of always trying to carry out tasks with something already in their hands. Like trying to pour a glass of juice from the carton with an action figure in one hand or attempting to button up their shirt with a handful of LEGO pieces. I constantly have to be telling them “Hey put that down so you can <insert said task> right!” Then I end up explaining to them that you need to set one thing aside in order to do the task at hand effectively, not to mention avert possible disasters like spilled juice or other calamities too numerous to mention. To this I am usually met with rolled eyes and assurances that they can function just fine doing more than one thing at a time and it irks me to no end as I watch them struggle and take twice as long to do whatever it is and further to deal with the mishaps that their “juggling” has led to. I can’t help but wonder though whether this bothers me so much because it is a reflection of my own habits. Are my boys just emulating the behaviour that they have observed in me?
JUST DO THIS ONE THING
Whilst we don’t all walk around with LEGO pieces and action figures in hand while we carry out our many activities, can we actually say that in our busy and filled days that we aren’t almost always multitasking. Isn’t that what we pride ourselves at being able to master, doing many things at once, being productive, busy, super, extra….. handling it all. Although we do manage to accomplish many feats during the day, juggling several things at once, with smart phones or other devices in hand do we stop to consider our own “mishaps” caused along the way.
If we are doing more than one thing at a time, then none of it gets our full attention, our full focus and full presence. That means that our standard output for our many accomplishments is mediocre, yes I said it….as in, not our best. Now whilst you may be rolling your eyes just like my boys right now and thinking “ofcourse I can handle it all” do we really look back at the wake of our multitasking and box checking of all our “done” deeds. How effective and productive have we really been, are the outcomes of our efforts a reflection of our capabilities, did we just get by today, exhausted and worn, likely to repeat tomorrow.
There will always be distractions in our lives, it is certainly not practical to lock ourselves away literally doing one thing to completion before we start another, but don’t we owe it to ourselves and to those around us that we care about to focus and be present. Like put the phone down while we talk to our children or help them with homework, or wait till after we finish that report at work before checking through our mail. The homework and the report would take twice as long with the other things that we are occupied with and in the end neither of them would be our best or got our full attention. How many moments to connect have we lost through multitasking, how many opportunities to impress with our talents have we lost through rushing our work, how many calamities have we caused because we didn’t put our “action figure” down before taking on a new task.
Today and everyday I will work on being fully present and focused on one thing at a time, I will present my best self as often as I can and be mindful of not missing out on the moments before me.