So much of our lives is spent doing something. We often get so used to doing multiple things at once even, that we don’t notice just how much of our own capacity we are using at once. For example walking down the street, listening to music and thinking about work. This all means you have to navigate your surroundings, while dealing with multiple sounds and then navigating all of that while trying to manage your livelihood. In all honesty, it just sounds rather crazy to be doing so much yet for most of us – this is how our day begins. And often is the more relaxed part of our day.
I wonder at what point in history it was decided that people should do multiple things at once. Or who thought it would be a great idea to make overextending yourself a bit part of everyday life. Perhaps it is a part of our own existentialism that we know we have a limited time on earth and that makes us feel like we have to do everything, try everything, explore as much as possible in the limited time we are given. It is not about the quality but rather ticking off boxes and crossing out items on a list than actually enjoying what you are doing. If you were, you would probably not need to combine this one thing you are doing with another thing.
These days, multitasking has been made so much easier thanks to technology but I really doubt it was technological capabilities that drove us to multitask. Rather I think it was customer needs that drove companies to build products that facilitate the concurring of various items at once. And from that point on, its just a continuous wheel, a perpetuum mobile, of trying to do more in a smaller window.
You may ask me now – what is so wrong about doing more than one thing? I mean, if you can fit multiple things into your day that you enjoy, what is wrong with that?
I believe in our generation we do not have the capability to just be present. We have eliminated the enjoyment of committing ourselves to one thing and one thing fully. There is always more to be added to every situation to the point where we are not only used to being overwhelmed with stimuli but also frighteningly, to the point where we have become immune to it.
Doing one thing at a time helps you not only fully commit to what you are doing, it helps you focus and avoid errors, stress as well as feeling burnt out after a short time. How often have you grabbed coffee on your way to work and by the time you got to work just feeling exhausted from having to commute to work, stand in line for coffee and battle the upcoming stress? Perhaps its more of a New Yorker thing, but often things we enjoy become disagreeable because we didn’t take the time to – you guessed it – enjoy them.
In our society, these days, there seems something so wrong about just doing one thing. Just walking down the road. Or just sitting and listening to music. If you can, why not do more right? When was the last time you laid on the ground to full listen and enjoy a good song? When was the last time you did just one thing? Let me go one step further, when was the last time you were bored?
I challenge you to spend just an hour thinking bout doing one thing at a time. Lets see if you can last 10min. Because as I am typing this so aware of how beneficial it can be to concentrate on one thing at a time, I am wondering what I need to do next. I hope you have better persistence than me.