This is what single-tasking looks like.

This is what single-tasking looks like.

I’ve been working at “single-tasking” for two weeks. I am far from mastering it. I have my good days, like yesterday when I was telling my friend Tina how much single-tasking has helped me and how I feel more peaceful and focused and I think I’m actually accomplishing more this way (even though that’s not the goal). Then there was today. In spite of my peaceful, focused attitude, we cannot get out the door to preschool on time and I just cannot be peaceful about that! I yelled at Camilla for taking her sweet time getting her socks and shoes on but was she the one I should be angry with? Well, I really didn’t need to be angry with anyone. But I was probably really angry with myself. After all, with an extra hour to get ready (thanks to a mere inch of snow), you would think we’d be able to get into the car on time, but no. We were rushing to the car exactly an hour later than usual. We always end up arriving close to starting time and I don’t think anyone really cares except me, but practically every time I go into panic mode starting with the mad rush to the car and ending only as we pull up to school. I have to figure out how to go about this more calmly, otherwise I don’t think we’re going to survive the next 17 years.
That being said, I believe single-tasking has allowed me to enjoy and savor moments like these:
Running around like crazy inside on a snowy/rainy day.
 Adrian helping make cookies for the first time.
 Silly after-bath hair-do by Daddy.

So while I still catch myself thinking about everything else I need to do, I am learning to be more mindful. When I straighten up, I try to just straighten up. When I fold the laundry I just fold the laundry. And it’s forcing me to slow down. I try to stay focused when I use the internet as well. I’m taking a break from Facebook this month and if I sit down to do something on the computer, I try to focus on it and finish it instead of constantly checking my email and twitter all day long. So far it’s working better than multi-tasking and I think I will be able to achieve perfection by the year 2020. (That was a joke.)
How about you? If you’re on this journey with me, how is single-tasking working for you?

  • Peg
    Posted at 22:34h, 08 February Reply

    In the first picture it looks like Camilla is running to find her shoes so she can make it out the door on time for school! 🙂 Getting out the door on time for school is a major stress point here too. And it often involves yelling. But I think, by necessity, it involves multi-tasking (helping little ones into coats, making sure the lights are turned off, finding ones keys, etc.)

    Anyway, this single-tasking is hard work! I've been trying it where I can, but the multi-tasking is so ingrained it's a hard habit to break! It doesn't help that I keep my laptop in the kitchen!

  • LĂ©na Roy
    Posted at 22:36h, 08 February Reply

    Thank you for the reminder! I'm about to play UNO with the kids. Just play UNO . . . and breathe . . .

  • Alison
    Posted at 22:46h, 08 February Reply

    Lena, that is a sentence I've been repeating to myself all day, inserting different activities. "Just make sandwiches . . . and breathe." "Just write the blog post . . . and breathe." It's been one of those days.

    Peg, thank you for sharing. I'm glad I'm not the only mom who struggles with yelling. Some days everything flows and I stay so calm. (Of course, those aren't usually school days!) I knew I was in for it when I was falling asleep last night thinking how peaceful everything had been lately! And you're right, there are times when multi-tasking is a necessity. Granted, the person who suggested this whole thing to me was never (and never will be) a MOTHER! It's impossible to be a mom without multi-tasking to some extent. BUT where do we draw the line? I wasn't drawing one at all, so now I am.
    I forgot to mention in this post that I cheated and talked to my friend Beth on the phone while I was making tuna casserole and . . . I think I forgot something important. Not the tuna, but maybe the salt. It was really bland. Hard to do two things at the same time and do them both well!

  • Amanda
    Posted at 22:11h, 12 February Reply

    I am incredibly bad at single-tasking! Must try harder!

  • Alison
    Posted at 22:18h, 12 February Reply

    It's okay, Amanda. I find it challenging, too. But I've tasted the peacefulness of mindfulness when I practice it and it's enough to keep me coming back for more.

  • Peg
    Posted at 06:45h, 14 February Reply

    I thought of you tonight while washing the dishes by hand. The dishwasher is broken so there's a lot more of that to do lately. I found my mind racing into the future and then thought of your recent posts. Kept telling myself "I am washing the dishes and breathing." It sure managed to get me out of my head for a minute!

  • Alison
    Posted at 15:45h, 14 February Reply

    Wow, Peg. I heart my dishwasher. Glad you managed to find some peace in the midst of the pile of dishes!

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