February 22 — Single-Tasking Day
From Theresa Gabriel, founder of Single-Tasking Day:
These days we rarely do one thing at a time. We drive and talk on the phone and carry on a conversation with the other person in the car at the same time. We exercise while reading a book and listening to the radio. For one day, on February 22, do only one thing at a time and see how more clearly you can think and how much better you feel [exclamation point removed]
In the 60’s when productivity began to skyrocket, experts predicted that by the year 2010, we would be working 30 hour work-weeks and enjoying more leisure time. But we have taken out our extra productivity in a higher standard of living and more ‘stuff’ rather than in a more relaxed life. As a result our society is reporting whole new illnesses:
- Toxic Success Syndrome
- Adult Attention Deficit Disorder
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Studies from University of Michigan and UCLA indicate that Multi-tasking forces our brains to continually perform “Task Switching” which makes our brains work harder with less efficiency. Some researchers believe this could even cause brain damage! These studies are beginning to be cited by health insurance companies. It’s time we care for our mental health [exclamation point removed]
Some studies indicate that symptoms of related diseases can include include:
- Poor appetite or overeating or drinking
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Poor short-term memory (It’s not Alzheimer’s, I call it ‘Part-timers)
- Withdrawal from spouse/family and lack of influence on children
- Low self-esteem despite apparent success
While most remedies involved medicating and managing symptoms, few suggest changing the lifestyle that creates these problems. Why don’t they just suggest doing less and going slower? The end result will be having less to do [Eureka [exclamation point removed]
Follow the New Trend of Single-Tasking
- World-renown choreographer, Twila Tharp, in her book “The Creative Habit,” declares that she lives by the rule of doing only one thing at a time.
- Psychoneuroimmunologist Paul Pearsall, PhD., author of “Toxic Success,” has adopted an Hawaiian way of life – living by tide and flow instead of by clocks and deadlines.
- Psychologists tell us that our brain must have ‘down time’ in order to process all of the input it receives during the day.
Single-Tasking Day is Promoted by Theresa Gabriel
Who enjoys life most when she can hear only the wind, and when she has all the time she needs for friends. You can contact Theresa, founder of the day, at 402-910-4563 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- “The work will wait while you show your child the rainbow, but the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.” Patricia Clafford, author
- “The price of anything is the amount of life you are willing to pay for it.” Henry David Thoreau
- “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” Mahatma Gandhi.
- “Only slaves rush.” Denny McLaughlin, speaker
- In Praise of Slowness, Carl Honoré
- The Creative Habit, Twila Tharp
- Toxic Success, Paul Pearsall, PhD.
- Traits of a Healthy Family, Dolores Curran
Exercises to Try
- Keep your cell phone turned off unless you’re expecting a call.
- Look your child in the eyes when you talk together. Squat down to their level if you need to. Start exercising if you can’t squat.
- Drive in the slow lane.
- Between activities, stop for five seconds, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Then begin the new activity.
- Keep your radio off while preparing for work in the morning.
- Ask your child what they would change about how you celebrate Christmas.
- Don’t always answer the phone.
- Don’t open junk mail.
- When talking on the phone, stop all other activity and visualize the face of who you are talking with.
- Sit down outside on your sidewalk with your child and look at bugs.
- Make a list of books to read – in the evening instead of watching t.v.
- Routinely have the evening family meal at home together, at the dinner table. Change schedules and cancel activities that conflict.
- Attend/schedule only meetings that actually accomplish something.
- Don’t increase your capacity for stress. Decrease your capacity for stress by just saying ‘no.’
- When you’re making a decision between two options, notice what personal values of yours are attached to each of the two options.
From Zen Habits
Zen Habits — Now Do This
An interesting item about single-tasking is on the Zen Habits website: http://zenhabits.net/2008/07/now-do-this-and-the-single-tasking-philosophy/. It talks about a new on-line to-do app “Now Do This.” The app has a nice message, simple, to the point, when you’re done (except the message uses an exclamation point, a punctuation mark that dull men avoid using):
Speaking of punctuation marks, we recently came across a useful website with a Puncuation Tree — Arboretus punctuationitis: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/marks.htm