Mindfulness! Ahhh….the word alone conjures up peace of mind and the relaxation that comes from simply being!
Then there’s multitasking, a skill we’ve developed at some point in our lives to become more efficient. It’s something most of are not even conscious of anymore – it’s just a way of life – to do three-four things simultaneously. Because that’s what makes us productive, right?
Corporate America may love their employees multitasking but as individuals, we must eliminate it.
Because multitasking is not really efficient and results in things getting done half-assed. Not always. But many-a-times.
For example, when I’m cooking, I have the bad habit of also cleaning the utensils and dishes that are in the sink. That results in me either wasting water or wasting heat, cause I’m juggling not letting the food burn and also clearing out as many dirty dishes as possible.
Or for example, we may be scrolling Facebook or watching television during dinner while a family member is trying to converse with us.
Can we do both? Sure.
But are we doing both effectively?
Multitasking maybe for corporate America. But I say even there it is not effective.
Multitasking upends our balance. It makes us believe that we’re getting more done. But in fact it ends up with things taking longer or getting done sloppier. It results in waste. And many times, multitasking removes the pleasure from activities that at one time used to be enjoyable.
Sometimes, we may accomplish more by multitasking. But not always.
And multitasking always comes at the cost of mental peace.
Mindfulness on the other hand restores mental calm. By focusing on the tasks at hand and not activities in the future, we also attain some measure of sanity.
I’ll be the first to admit that being mindful or being present is not easy.
After all, none of us have a “singular” existence – we have jobs, homes, businesses, kids, family obligations, etc. that make life….well, stressful!
But I learned mindfulness a few years ago when my life was a rollercoaster.
I started small, with one self-imposing rule – Drink my coffee without doing anything else.
That meant no talking to anyone, no responding to calls, no cooking, no checking email, etc – doing absolutely nothing except enjoying my coffee, preferably outdoors when the weather cooperated (but sometimes even on cold, snowy days).
It took some time for me to get into that habit.
Cause the normal course of action for me was to make my coffee and then start making breakfast for someone or check my emails or do something else that needed my attention. And many-a-times, by the time I got back to the coffee, it would be tepid or even cold.
For me, becoming mindful wasn’t easy. My mind used to overflow with thoughts & ideas & lists of things to do. It required breaking many bad habits and…
- Be focused on only one thing at a time
- Stop thinking about what else needed to be done
- Learn to breathe to calm myself.
Now I’ve learned to focus on TODAY. And when a past memory or a future worry crops up, I also know how to remove it as effectively and efficiently as taking out an overfilled trash bag.
So now I say no to multitasking. And believe me, it brings immense mental calmness. Also now, my coffee is the perfect temperature every single time, lol!
Just Inhale, Exhale, and Repeat!