The Value of Mono-Tasking


Posted September 29th, 2021

Are you a multi-tasker? I know I’ve tried to be, even without consciously ‘trying.’ My work seems to demand it, or at least I seem to think it does, during busy-full times. And I’m regularly reminded of how not-good I am at it, with missed details, surface-level interactions, and the general depletion of the churn. 

In many ways, multi-tasking is the straight path to burnout. It requires us to use our vital energy in inefficient ways.

What a great opportunity to build mental fitness muscles! With Autumn underway, it’s both essential and timely to start laying down our burdens and that sense of over-much as we start to conserve our energy for the longer nights and colder days.

Shirzad frequently points to multi-tasking as a myth, something that’s not even a thing but yet can be so elevated in a culture that emphasizes that “we are what we do.” Multi-tasking is not an efficiency strategy, he reminds us, but a signal that saboteur activity is present. Doing multiple tasks seemingly simultaneously vs. sequentially (like texting and driving, for example) is the opposite of “focus” – our minds scatter. In fact, research shows that multitaskers are 

– terrible at ignoring irrelevant information; 

– unable to keep information well organized in their heads; and 

– pretty bad at switching from one task to another.

(source: Positive Intelligence training on the Restless saboteur, citing Dr. Clifford Nass, Stanford University)

In NLP terms, that list will resonate with those of us who are motivated to move away from/solve a problem. If you’re more drawn to moving toward a solution, here’s another way to look at it. One could posit that Mono-Taskers are more likely to be:

– great at discerning relevant info from the detritus;

– mentally well organized and tidy;

– really good at switching and adapting to changing tasks.

For today’s mental fitness practice, do some PQ reps on your busy work and daily tasks. Feel the resistance of the keys as you type on your keyboard. Notice the temperature, weight, and sensation of water as you wash your hands. Observe how light and shadow create nuance in color on an object on your desk. 

Rather than falling behind, notice how this Present Moment awareness actually gives you a sense of time-spaciousness. Maybe there’s room for an extra deep breath, during which time you can notice how the temperature of air changes with your inhale and exhale… 

Use your PQ reps to explore the land of Mono-Tasking and the treasures that you’ll find there. Notice, too, how you feel at the end of the day. 

Enjoy the practice!


PS Tonight is the last Intro to Mind Magic/Mental Fitness before we launch on October 25! if you or someone you know is interested, drop me a message. If you can’t make it tonight but want to be part of the Fall Cohort, let me know

The next monthly session for seasoned Mind Magic/Mental Fitness practitioners is on 10/18 from 5:30-7 pm/MST where we’ll explore the Sage Powers. Journaling and guided meditation. $20. Sign up here.

The next 7-week Mental Fitness Challenge will start in early 2022. 

Hope to see you sometime soon!

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