One Thing at a Time

[We had a technical problem and this page should have come earlier.]

I promised to do mindfulness for this post and I am, sort of. This post is going to come in the ‘back door’ and talk about mindlessness first.

Why? Because I spent 15 minutes looking for my glasses again. Why did that happen? Because I can be a queen of mindlessness, that’s why!

The free dictionary defines mindlessness as “giving or showing little attention or care; heedless”.

Mindlessness is something that you might know as being on autopilot or inattentiveness. It is doing things without engaging your brain. You simply are not paying attention.

I lost my glasses – again! – because we were in the process of sending in our tax returns. Check needed here. Stamp needed there. Did you sign this one? I took off my glasses and put them down. Then I mindlessly put some papers on top of them. Good going kid.

Since I have lost some vision it seems I cannot have the luxury of being mindless. Before I could look around, root around and find things pretty easily. All right, maybe not that easily but the point is I could use my vision to cover a lot of ground in the search. Not any more.

Things are a lot more labor intensive. I have to pay better attention. In essence, I have to become more mindful of what I ask doing.

Another thing I have to do is stop multitasking. Many of us think multitasking is a good thing. Hey, if I were not doing ten things at once nothing would ever get done! Right? Wrong!

Multitasking is not real. Your brain can only attend to one thing at a time. What you are actually doing is switching back and forth in your focus. Your brain is fast! It can turn on the proverbial dime and you barely notice the switch, but you are not multitasking.

Try a fun experiment. I stole this – I admit I stole it. I lifted it off some website and I have no idea which one. If it were your site, I apologize and ask you to remember that imitation is a sincere form of flattery.

Anyway….time yourself saying the alphabet and counting to 26. Now intersperse letters and numbers. 1a,2b, etc. It took longer. Those seconds are the time you waste on a verbal task. What if it were visual?

Another fun thing I stole off the web: start counting to 10. Have someone say “switch” and then sing Happy Birthday. Have the other person say “switch” at random times. The trick is you are required to go back to the place at which you stopped counting or singing.

Like I said, there is no such thing as multitasking. It is simply divided attention and divided attention is something I am discovering I cannot afford.

So next I will talk about the opposite of mindlessness. Maybe I can give myself a few reminders. After all, I do teach this stuff!

Next: BE A VOLUNTEER

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