There is no benefit in multitasking? Really? Now they tell me!
Thankfully this discovery coincides with my effort to live a more conscious and healthy lifestyle in spite of myself, so the thought that multitasking has been causing me to be less productive and forgetful is just the kind of evidence I need to push me in a healthy direction. (see attributions below)
I have been a habitual multitasker, and believed the trait served me well over the years. I have owned businesses, raised children and worked in fast-paced environments that seemed to benefit from my special knack for juggling all things for all people.
I see now that I lived a detrimental lifestyle that has become a challenge to undo. In my quest for a more self-compassionate and intentional life, I have been making a conscious effort to slow down and enjoy every day in fitness and in health, and I continue to seek ways to improve my memory and stress levels.
Like me, even if you are managing to get off the multitasking crazy train, you probably still have moments when you catch yourself running and you realize you haven't taken a deep breath in forever and you don't know why.
On my path to greater inner peace, I have learned a number of things about myself. Over the course of the last few years, I am consciously choosing to slow down and enjoy life. I want to do the things I've had on my bucket list. I want to enjoy my family and friends in a deeper way. I want to contribute in fulfilling ways.
But I not only want to DO things; I want to savor them. I want to absorb life and enjoy it. I don't want to multitask my way through my bucket list. I want to BE in there enjoying every moment.
I'm seeing success for my effort. I'll share my meditation methods in another post so stay tuned, but regarding my daily activities, my mind is still programmed for speed. Even though I am building a day to day life that allows me to focus my thoughts calmly in the direction I desire, I still find old habits die hard.
My tendency to hurry up may be just the place I need to notice, and taking time to breathe, look and listen is a gift I must remember to give myself moment by moment.
Even noticing that I'm speeding along is a big improvement and cause for celebration. Learning a new behavior is done in stages and over time. My awareness gives me a chance to improve this very moment. I stop and notice my breath, and I open my mind's eye and look around.
It really feels good when I notice myself rushing for no particular reason and realize I can choose at that moment to slow down; to BE in the moment. I feel my shoulders relax and my attitude improve, and the moment comes into focus. I can be in the moment in an instant! One benefit of my past multitasking expertise: I'm good at switching gears quickly. Ha!
1) 'Media multitaskers pay mental price, Stanford study shows' By Adam Gorlick
Stanford Report, August 24, 2009, news.stanford.edu
2) 'The Myth Of Multitasking', NPR Talk of the Nation with Ira Flatow & Dr Clifford Nass
May 10, 2013, http://www.npr.org
3) 'Don’t Multitask: Your Brain Will Thank You' By Issie Lapowsky
Time Business & Money, April 17, 2013, http://business.time.com
4) 'Clifford Nass, Who Warned of a Data Deluge, Dies at 55' By William Yardley
The New York Times, Business Day, November 6, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com
5) 'This Year I Will...', By M.J. Ryan
Published by Broadway Books, 2006