Monotasking

Have you ever heard of “monotasking”? I really never have before last Tuesday at a meditation class I’ve started in April. The class is called “Meditation for Daily Living” and is held at the Campbell Community Center.  Meditation coach Greg told us that monotasking can help us to lead a more mindful life. All of a sudden it came clear to me that I need to improve this skill in my life.

 

What does mono tasking mean?

On dictionary.com it says the carrying out of one task at a time; single-tasking” and the Urban Dictionary describes mono tasking as “The performance by an individual of one task, and only one task, at a point in time. Monotasking can be more productive than multitasking because it allows an individual to put all their attention and focus on the task at hand. This allows fewer mistakes than would be made if the individual were multitasking.” 

Multitasking is a female specialty

Growing up to be a young woman in the 90’s I constantly heard about multi tasking. It was spread all over the world that women are much better at it than men. Lots of people talked and wrote about this phenomenon and girls felt kind of proud that they were better at multi tasking than guys are. So that’s what we did.

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Multitasking is a myth

Multitasking defines our hectic world. You have to get stuff done and preferably lots of things in the shortest amount of time possible.  But people start doubting that multitasking is actually efficient. The book “The Myth of Multitasking: How ‘Doing It All’ Gets Nothing Done” from David Crenshaw states that multitasking is, in fact, a lie that wastes time and costs money. Far from being efficient, multitasking actually damages productivity and relationships at work and at home. That’s why I need more monotasking in my life.

You have to know that I’m a bit of a queen of multitasking, but this fact did not always necessarily make my life better. I was always very proud about the fact that I’m capable of juggling many tasks at once. But in my adult years I came to realize that when you multitask, you don’t focus at each activity you’re doing enough. You are not, you can’t be 100 % focused on one thing, because you’re doing several at once.

I talked to a good friend, a doctor, about that I’m kind of sad because I can’t seem to remember lots of events from my early life very clearly. My friend told me that he thinks the reason for my lack of detailed memories is the fact that I wasn’t really present in the particular moment. And that made a lot of sense to me. I actually did remember a chat I had with my aunt back in 1988 on our vacation in Hungary. I told her about all the other plans that I had for the summer and she asked me why I couldn’t enjoy the moment we were having right at this time. This comment stuck with me and I didn’t like what my aunt said but nevertheless she was right. I was never in fact good at being in the moment. I tried, but I have a really restless mind, that keeps distracting me from the important things.

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Monotasking is my new goal

That’s why I signed up for this class initially. I want to live more mindful and try to be more in the present moment. And that’s what meditation is all about. Meditation is stillness of body and mind and opening your heart. It is the practice of emptying your mind and allowing yourself to just BE.

You are not your body. You are not your mind.

What you are, is the present moment. 

Right now I am very motivated about keeping up the daily meditation, to live more in the moment and I can already see some changes. I’m trying hard to do consciously only one thing at a time. (Which is really hard for me.) On Wednesday I started to write this post and I tried to do nothing else than writing, to not get distracted. I turned off my phone, the notifications on my computer and just wrote. (And my kids were not at home.) It worked pretty well (even though I couldn’t finish). In fact it worked so well, that I forgot that I had to go and see my daughter’s teacher as I was supposed to do. (Well, you can’t have everything.)

Do you want more monotasking in your life? You should try it. Try to monotask once a day. Pick one specific task you have to or you really want to do and focus only on this one activity.

I would love your comment. Tell me how monotasking works for you!

I started reading “The Power of Now” (Eckhart Tolle) and found two other books that I will add to my library: Present Moment Awareness, Shannon Duncan and The little book of Mindfulness, Dr. Patrizia Collard.

I also found this TedTalk from Paolo Cardini “Forget multitasking, try monotasking”.

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