I am a self admitted A type personality.
I pride myself on being able to do a million things at the same time and accomplish a huge list of tasks within 24 hours.
This persuit of “accomplishment” is often at the expense of (I am beginning to realize) my enjoyment of life, my husbands happiness, and sometimes my health.
I know I am not alone.
Basically, single-tasking is choosing ONE task a day that you will do with complete mindfulness – no distraction.
Nothing major, something that takes 1-5 minutes to do.
I must admit that of all the rituals outlined in this book THIS one has proven hard for me to integrate daily.
Mostly because I don’t think ahead and decide at what time of the day I am going to practice single-tasking.
I’m working on it…
So…what’s the point of single-tasking?
Life is busy.
There are a million things to do in a day and only limited time to do them.
I can easily go through a day head spinning and when I lay down at night I can barely remember ever taking a deep breath or even noticing that I’ve had spit-up on my sleeve since 8am.
Life is NOT meant to be rushed through, completed, or checked off a list.
“…there is more to life than churning through a to-do list, more than just getting things done.” (Chapter 1)
By taking a few moments to single task you are giving yourself the opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasures of life that are easily missed amongst the chaos of a day.
How do you do it?
1. Choose a task.
2. When the time comes, turn off phone/tv/computer/
3. Take a deep breath.
4. Do the task soaking up every sound, taste, feel, smell, touch, emotion…use your senses.
5. Be grateful.
6. Take another deep breath…then re-enter your day refreshed.
I wrote about my experience with this just the other day, I made coffee.
I am sitting outside while brewing a pot of coffee. When I head inside to pour myself a cup I immediately feel the coolness of the air conditioning against my sun warmed skin. The warm smell of coffee reaches my nose and I breathe in the smell. I pull out my potted mug and notice how vibrant the aqua glaze is and how it starts rich and dark at the bottom and slowly fades to a paler shade toward the lip of the mug. As I open the fridge door to grab the milk I again notice the cold air against my arm. I pour the milk into the vessel and notice the milks pure white color. Once the milk settles in the bottom of my mug tiny bubbles form on the top of the milk. Pulling out the coffee caraffe I notice that the liquid isn’t black really, but a really deep dark rich brown. I like that color. The sound of the coffee pouring into the cup is smooth and I can hear the last drop as I fill my mug. Brown mixes with white to create a caramel color swirl that slowly takes over the coffee. Steam rises to my nose. I dip my spoon into the sugar bowl and listen to the sound of the sugar grains on my spoon, then the soft “plop” of the sugar dumping into my coffee. Stir. As I place the spoon onto my spoon rest (an old saucer from my husband’s Oma) I notice the gold trim of the saucer and how much I like the pattern of the pink flowers painted on it. The little drip of coffee left on the spoon puddles, forming a crescent shape. I hold the mug with both of my hands and notice that it’s too warm to hold in that position so I adjust and raise my hands above the liquid line. I take my first sip and let myself really taste it…it warms my stomach. I take a final long smell of the brew, give thanks for coffee and afternoon naps – then head back into my day.
That’s it! A little bit of peace and wonder in the middle of a regular day.
Single-Tasking. Try it!
And let me know how it goes: what you were mindful doing, and how it helped clear your head or change your attitude.