I know this isn't popular opinion, but doing one thing at a time helps us be more mindful. Humans can't really multi-task anyway, despite thoughts that believe we are masters at it.
Our attention switches back and forth when we're trying to do more than one thing at once - and there is a cost every time we re-focus. We make mistakes and slow down. We feel pulled in many directions physically and emotionally instead of fully grounded. Generally, as we're talking on the phone, writing emails and checking our calendar - nothing is getting the attention it deserves. We always think we're being efficient by getting stuff done faster... but why are we are we so hell bent on not thinking this moment - this second - is important enough to give our full attention? It is literally the only moment we know we have.
This moment is important enough to stay in.
Awhile ago I experienced a meditation retreat where we contemplated death. Ok... stay with me a moment. When we have awareness that death is imminent and unpredictable - it helps us savor our life. When we have awareness that each breath we take brings us one breath closer to death, life seems different. It feels more urgent to express love, make a difference in the world and connect in meaningful ways. And it's easier to do this when we're focused on one thing at a time.
Life is squandered when we're moving through it on autopilot just trying to get stuff done. Remembering that we're not guaranteed time, can help wake us up in life. Doing one thing at a time is a simple way to help yourself be more present, focus your attention and be fully in each moment.
Ways to practice mindfulness in action
- just to remind you, doing one thing at a time is key
- staying conscious of your breath
- pausing between tasks or activities
- practicing noticing being aware of your awareness
- centering thoughts on the task at hand
- checking in with your body often
- reflecting, journaling or discussing how you can be more aware and tender in your daily life
- setting an intention to bring kind attention to all the parts of your life
Mostly, developing an attitude that doesn't regard uni-tasking as a deficit and really trusting that you can be present in your life helps.