How Single-Tasking Can Stop You from Pulling Out Your Hair in Frustration
Keep your hair on and stop doing everything at once
Some days are just too out of control, aren’t they? It always happens when you’re already pushed for time; unexpected visitors arrive, a pal has a meltdown and needs support, the oven stops working, and people are coming for dinner.
Or just when you think you’ve finished work at the office, your boss asks you to stay late. But, of course, you know it’s not a request, even if it’s framed as one, and you have a zillion other tasks on the boil in your private life and want to sail out of the building.
So you decide to get everything done in supersonic time. “I have two arms,” you think. “I can stretch one to the copy machine and another to the phone.”
“I can eat my lunch and simultaneously devise a creative idea to put forward at the next meeting.”
You try to empower yourself with positive affirmations.
“I can do this!”
“I’m a supersonic managerial problem-zapping genius on acid.”
But, of course, you’re not. You might have downed an extra cup of coffee during your busy, supposed break, but you can’t do everything on the agenda.
The next thing you know, you’re rubbing your eyes until they are blurry, wrenching out your hair and holding your breath as if doing so will make you move faster.
Multitasking was once considered a praiseworthy act. Whole books about it crammed the shelves in the bookshop’s self-improvement sections.
Magazine articles encouraged women to raise babies, work full time, and enjoy champagne-filled events. Then they were supposed to visit the office at dawn to set the day in motion before the cleaner’s arrival.
Men were encouraged to make millions of dollars to prove they were valuable and successful, and some worked their fingers down to the knuckles.
Later, somebody came up with the sensible idea that society had this do-all-you-can-and-drop-dead attitude wrong.
We now know multitasking’s a fool’s game. What’s more, trying to do everything at once makes you less capable. And it makes sense you’ll do things badly if you only allocate a small percentage of your focus.
The way to get more done is to slow down; that’s the latest message from the media.
Relax more. Meditate, and be mindful, and you’ll gain time.
Yes. It’s true. It’s possible that slowing down and managing one task at a time makes you more fruitful and conscientious, and it feels a lot better than yanking out your hair in frustration because you’re doing too much.
Single-tasking brings relief
Many people are frustrated with life. They are stressed because they have too much on their plates, and I’m not talking about pizza with extra olives. They recognize it’s wise to single-task instead of juggling jobs, but the pressure’s on them to continue doing what they’ve always done.
After all, the good news we can all slow down didn’t come with lessening chores or fewer working hours.
Yet, remember how single-tasking increases your ability to get more done? So, embrace the possibility the notion has merit and try it.
People often recognize a truth about life intellectually but don’t allow it to sink in and take hold in their psyches. Unless you engage in single-tasking, you won’t see the results you crave or experience relief.
The reduction in stress from tackling single tasks can be immense. You have room to breathe and can focus, honing your attention on what you do in the moment.
But how can you cope with the pressure to do, do, do?
People (your boss, spouse, kids, and other folks) might pressure you to feed the clock with more hours than you have to give, but you can say “no.”
You might fear disappointing people if you don’t rush or cram extra tasks into your day, but disappointment has never killed anyone.
It’s okay to stand your ground and opt for single-tasking. If your boss piles too much paperwork on your desk and expects you to juggle work, explain the benefits of single-tasking.
Bring them up at the next meeting and introduce single-tasking as a way to meet business goals on target.
If your partner or kids want a piece of you when you’re busy, smile, breathe, and schedule time for them when you can provide your full attention.
Don’t dash about like a mad creature trying to please them because your efforts won’t be rewarded. Instead, you’ll be stressed, and they’ll feel shortchanged because you’re not entirely with them in the moment.
The people who need to read this article might be too pushed for time to get their hands on it. You, though, dear reader, have managed to get through the entire piece mindfully.
Alternatively, you scanned the story, whistled through it on autopilot, and breathed a sigh of relief when you reached the final paragraph.
If the former notion is accurate, please suggest your busy friends make time to read this, and if the latter’s the case, I get it. You’re busy. And you can definitely benefit from single-tasking.
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