I set myself a lot of challenges. Each day is full of tasks, to-dos and goals. Whether that is good or bad I don’t know, but what has hands down been the toughest of all the goals I’ve set myself as of late has been ‘one at a time’.
This idea came about some unremarkable Wednesday evening as I sat catching up on Masterchef, checking emails, editing photos for a blog post, texting a friend and chowing down on some dinner. When you write it all out it seems absurd doesn’t it? To do all of those things at once, but I ask you this lovely readers – when did you last just do one thing at a time?
Like just watch tv. Or just answer an email (without simultaneously listening to music and accidentally typing a lyric or two in there). Even at work as I look around I see a sea of people with headphones on and mobiles in hand. We have become a world of multi-taskers. And not only that, we celebrate it. We take pride in our ability to catch up on Snapchat while weaving in and out of commuters to get the the tube station in record speed with a coffee (or green smoothie depending how virtuous you’re feeling that day) in hand. Us woman have even been known to scoff at men – the idea that they can’t take on quite as many tasks as us … all at once.
But ladies, maybe they’re on to something? Maybe we would enjoy those tea breaks or Netflix catch ups more if we took them as they came. If we sat in a moment and really felt it.
And if simply taking more enjoyment out of your tasks doesn’t convince you enough to slow down, new research out of the University of Sussex says ‘simultaneously using mobile phones, laptops and other media devices could be changing the structure of our brains’ with Researcher Kep Kee Loh suggesting that multi-tasking may actually be shrinking the brain and has scientific links to anxiety and depression. Worryingly, Loh says that ‘media multi-tasking is becoming more prevalent in our lives today and there is increasing concern about its impacts on our cognition and social-emotional well-being.’
So, despite finding it the hardest habit to form… perhaps it’s the most important? For the sake, not only of my personal enjoyment, but also my mental health.
With that in mind, I’m off to master the art of single-tasking. Starting with turning off all my devices, and sitting down with a nice cup of tea.
Why don’t you join me?