I’m happy you’re here – that means yesterday’s post convinced you to join me in giving up multi-tasking forever!
…Just kidding. You don’t expect to change a lifelong habit in a day do you?
We’re gonna take it slow here and challenge ourselves with a mini goal (yay, my favorite!). Are you with me?!
Good. Here’s the challenge:
- Think of an area in your life where you could be more present. When you’re: spending time with loved ones, on the phone, driving, answering e-mails, writing? Think of where you find yourself distracted, slipping up, pretty frequently. You might be surprised to think of several…but pick just one for now.
- Decide that, for the next week, when you’re doing this task, you will ONLY do this task. If you’re on the phone, engage fully in the conversation and nix the behind-the-scenes Facebooking, for example.
- Plan for distractions. Write them out, then come up with a plan to beat each one.
- And go! Mono-task, on whatever you’ve decided, for the next week. The challenge ends Tuesday, April 3rd.
It took me about 3 minutes to figure out what my mono-tasking challenge would be: writing.
In the span of writing yesterday’s post, I opened, browsed, and closed probably 10 tabs. And this isn’t a one-time deal. I’ve been known to have 10 tabs up at once – one page taking too long to load? Good thing there’s another one all ready for me!
This practice, I’m realizing, leaves me scattered, unfocused…and I don’t get as much done! I’ll get halfway through reading an article, start writing, finish reading the article, finish my post, then submit a comment on the article…Sound like insanity? IT IS.
That’s why this will be my challenge: when I’m writing, ONLY that tab will be open. My focus will be on writing. And a challenge it will be – one tab at a time? Scary. What if I need to look something up mid-sentence?
That’s why I’m planning for distractions:
- Easy solution: Don’t write online. Instead, I can write via a word program, and when I’m done, copy and paste it to WordPress. Voila – no tabs to worry about.
- But what if I need to look something up related to my post? Great question! I’ll keep a notepad next to the computer, and if something comes up, I’ll write it down and look it up – only when my post is complete (minus what I need to look up).
- What if I’ve been writing for too long and I get bored or spacey? I’m going to schedule in breaks. It’s kind of arbitrary for now, because I rarely focus for any length of time…so I don’t know what’ll work. But this challenge week, for every 45 minutes of solid writing I do, I’m giving myself a 15 minute break.
Okay! So there’s the task and the plan.
Having trouble coming up with one? Here are some ideas…
You could mono-task when you:
- Eat. That’s right – put down the magazine, close the web browser, ignore the phone. You’re eating!
- Drive. No phone, no putting on make-up, no reading (I’ve seen it!)…Put distractions in the back seat, or better yet, the trunk.
- Have conversations. Are you one of those people who texts while you’re having a face-to-face convo? (Don’t feel bad – we’re all guilty of it sometimes). Try focusing your attention on who you’re talking to, 100%.
- Answer e-mails. Give your full attention to each e-mail you read and every response you give. This is a great challenge if you’re a tab-hopper like myself.
- Read. I’ll start reading one article, then mid-way through, jump to another one that was linked through the first one. Is this you? You could try focusing on whatever it is you’re reading.
- Spend time with loved ones.
- Work on ___ project. Whatever it is, just work on that.
- Do homework.
Don’t get too angsty about the task itself – it’s really more about the exercise in mono-tasking. Remember, it’s just a week – so pick something and commit!
The challenge begins today and ends Tuesday, April 3rd (or a week from whenever you read this). Who’s with me?!
Peace, love and the discipline to mono-task,