a blog by Ellen Davies

In the news: Monotasking

I saw this article in the New York Times this morning on monotasking: the benefits of doing only one thing at a time.

Read This Story Without Distraction (Can You?)

This resonated with me because I am always doing five things at once.

Where does this urge to multitask come from?

For me, I think it has roots in anxiety, particularly my anxiety about being a mom. Because when your kids are little, you learn fast that you have to multitask, or things will start to fall apart. You have to start dinner, feed the baby, play Candyland, and fold laundry all at the same time. Your mind is always racing ahead—what else can I do right now that will make life easier later? At least my mind is. Or used to be.

Now that my girls are grown, I don’t have the need to multitask like that anymore, but I still do it. I sometimes try to clean the sink while I’m brushing my teeth, which isn’t good for your gums, by the way.

This article makes a distinction between mindfulness and monotasking, claiming they are different: Monotasking is:

Not the same as mindfulness, which focuses on emotional awareness, monotasking is a 21st-century term for what your high school English teacher probably just called “paying attention.”

I say you can practice mindfulness and monotasking at the same time. Ha, look at me, multitasking again!



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