Good afternoon friends!
Thank you to everyone who read my post from a couple weeks ago on margin (https://michellepotts.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/margin-noun-an-amount-of-something-so-as-to-be-sure-of-success-or-safety/). I had a lot of great feedback. I appreciate your words of encouragement and am stoked that it helped you out! It definitely helped me out just as much as you. I won’t bore you with all the details right now, but I’ll be sure to do a part 2 in a few weeks to let you know how “margin” has helped me in my daily life.
Today, however, I want to discuss the idea of single tasking (or monotasking). I recently read a blog post from “Cup of Jo” on the concept of single tasking (http://cupofjo.com/). It made me consider how often I truly single task. I came to the realization that a majority of my life is filled with multitasking. I always figured that multitasking would help me use my time wisely and complete tasks as efficiently as possible. False.
Single tasking/monotasking is defined as “dedicating oneself to a given task and minimizing potential interruption until the task is completed or a significant period of time has elapsed” (http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/monotasking-single-tasking).
It’s harder than it sounds. When I think about my day, I definitely do more multitasking than single tasking. It is easy as a female to feel like I am a good at multitasking. I can cook a million things at once, while listening to music, while having laundry going, texting a friend (or my mom…typically), making a list of things I need to complete the next day, all on top of trying to follow the recipes for the million things I’m cooking. Holy smokes…just typing it out sounds stressful. I could seriously cut out half of those things. Cook a couple things and listen to music. Texting can be done later and laundry could be completed earlier in the day. Sounds better, right?
I’ve tried my hand at single tasking recently. For example…this blog post. I am sitting at a coffee shop (not Zocalo this time, featured photo…no regrets. It’s a new location. It’s quiet. And I love it.), drinking my favorite chai in the whole world, writing to my wonderful readers. My mind is set on this one task. To efficiently complete a blog post and then move on with my day. Completing one task helps me focus on the moment. I find that this has helped me get more done throughout my day. Instead of spending six hours on 10 different tasks, I can spend a half hour to 45 minutes on one task at a time…thus creating more margin in my life to spend time reading, running, or hanging out with those that are important to me. Crazy how the smallest adjustments in my life have made me a much happier person. I consider myself to be a very happy and content person, but I stress a lot. I tend to plan my week out, hourly, every day, trying to fit as much in as possible. That’s how my stress is created. Scheduling way too many tasks in a day has been my downfall. I’m sure many people love this and it works for them, but not for me! I have found that instead of always being a “yes person,” I need to sometimes be a “no, maybe next time person.”
Think about juggling. I am DEFINITELY not a good juggler. I wouldn’t even consider it a skill of mine. I have a tough time even juggling two balls. But think about juggling six or seven balls. Picture those balls as this list of things you need to finish in a day. You’re having to focus on so many tasks, that sooner or later you’re going to get tired and drop different tasks. Things are completed carelessly. Some not at all. When you focus on one or two balls, they will be completed with 100% of your attention and done thoroughly. As I said in my previous post, we have been blessed with 24 hours in a day. That’s plenty of time to get a lot done, if we are using our time wisely.
There is a time and a place for multitasking. For example, running and listening to music. When I run (and when most people do), music keeps you moving. It helps you focus on the rhythm, the words, and not on how far your feet are taking you or how tired your legs are. Another one of my other multitasking skills are doing laundry and making breakfast. Both are in the same room in our new house, so it makes sense and works into my schedule.
Multitasking that should not be done: texting and driving (we all fall victim to this one…especially snapchatting and driving. Has anyone seen the “don’t snap and text” filter? Ugh. Freakin calling me out.), texting and walking down the street, Pokemon Go and walking down the street (or please watch where you are going), and one that I am drastically trying to change, talking on the phone and doing something else. I always feel like I should be doing work or cleaning while talking on the phone. The only task I have found that works while talking on the phone is folding laundry. It’s quiet and doesn’t disturb the other person on the other end. Sound is severely amplified to the other person on the other side, so those of you that go to the bathroom and talking on the phone, or eat chips and talk on the phone, stop! It’s too loud guys. When you stop what you’re doing, you completely focus on what the other person is saying. I used to be a buyer at The Round House Ski and Sports Center. I multitasked the crap out of my day when on the phone. When sales reps would call, I’d be emailing someone else, or putting in an order. I feel bad thinking back to how many things I missed that they were saying. It’s how mistakes were made or I would ask questions that were already answered. When someone calls, it’s usually important, so it’s important for you to fully listen and be present in the conversation.
Alright. Enough for one afternoon. I guess I should move onto the next task and complete this first one. It’s been fun, friends! Again, you guys are the best for humoring my thoughts. I hope there’s at least a sentence that you’ll remember or laugh about. That’s my goal.
I also want to give y’all the opportunity to let me know what you want to read about. I have a list of posts I want to share with you, but I want to cater to the crowd that’s reading. Shoot me a text (I’ll check it when I’m not walking or driving), call me (I’ll postpone everything to talk to you…unless I’m at work), or comment below.
You rock! Cheers and enjoy your weekend.
PS. The leaves are changing…get out and check it out 🙂