The Challenge of Singletasking

If your life is anything like mine, you have all been there. Either you or someone you know has claimed to be juggling 100, 1,000 or a 1,000,000 things at a time. And depending on how many things you or they claim to have up in the air and just how exasperated you or they can manage to look and sound, seems to correlate, at least in the mind, of how important you think you are or you think they are. People even try to one up each other in "busy-ness."  It's like a competition to see who is doing the most, not who's necessary doing something the best. The ultimate goal seems to be to do the most or claim to do the most. 

In actuality, doing the most or doing the best, which is what we really want, is not achieved by multitasking. We have somehow duped into thinking that crazed busy-ness looks like success, when really deep focus and concentration lead to the kind of innovation, invention, and creativity that so many of us would like to achieve in our lives. We think that if we check more things off of our to do lists or bullet lists, we will find ourselves being the next Richard Branson or Steve Jobs, but the focus that both of these men, and many other like them are able to achieve, more resembles singletasking than multitasking. 

If any of you have been following my efforts for the past two weeks, you'll now that I've been finding it very difficult to singletask, which is something that, in my younger years, I was able to do quite easily and frequently. When reading a good book, I would become so immersed, that like Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi describes in his TedTalk "Flow, the secret of happiness," I would find myself in a state in which I would no longer be aware of my physical self or my problems. I would have reached the state of flow. So, I know precisely what it feels like. And he's right, it is most likely the key or one of the keys to achieving a sense of fulfillment. 

In addition to fulfillment, singletasking is what our minds and bodies are designed to do. Brain imaging and other physical monitoring shows us that multitasking is actually bad for us. It taxes our minds, memories, and bodies. Rarely do people feel at ease or balanced, when they are multitasking. People may be mistaking the intense, stressed feeling that they're experiencing as excitement, "a rush," but it is actually stress and not a state any of us should want to be in or maintain. 

And so, I will continue to work towards singletasking and reaching flow again. How adept at you at focusing, concentrating, and singletasking?