Happy belated Thanksgiving! Now that my stomach is full of several meals of turkey... I can sit down and write.
How can we uni-task in the busiest time of year? I'll start with what I know.
I like to multi-task because I feel productive and then proud of that productivity. My mind says, "Look how much you accomplished, self!" I rely on myself and feed my pride. However, I do know that I can't multi-task that effectively. One of the two or three things isn't done well.
If I blow dry my hair and fill in my eyebrows at the same time, I either have caterpillars on my forehead or frizzy and tangled hair. Both accomplished, maybe saved 5 minutes, but neither were done well and probably more energy spent than necessary.
A friend from Japan stayed with us for about 9 days and she taught me how to do one thing at a time, and what that communicates to another person. When you stop, sit, and talk, it shows that you care, you are listening, that they are worth your time. Of course this isn't always possible, but in my case I'm the one that gets in the way more than external interruptions. The dishes don't HAVE to be done now. That spill doesn't HAVE to be cleaned now. Instagram doesn't NEED me to check it.
It's really hard to undo multi-tasking. At times it can be fine, sometimes necessary. But not always. People are more important than tasks. I tend to forget this when I'm on a mission, but in the busiest time of year, I want to try to uni-task when it comes to people. My friend is teaching me, just by being with her, that one's presence and stillness speaks volumes about caring for and valuing someone.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor. (Romans 12:10)
So, while I feast on Thanksgiving leftovers and look forward to more holiday festivities, I hope to get better at unitasking. How to do it? Some tips that help me:
- Spend time with someone who is good at it. Get antsy and uncomfortable through it.
- Leave your phone in a different room (with the volume up if needed for emergencies).
- Practice yoga for a few minutes a day. It teaches "mindfulness" in details of each task.
- Rest your hands and turn your body towards whoever you are talking to.
- Pray: for patience and trust to rely on God to accomplish what needs to be done.
Some additional reading: 12 Reasons to Stop Multitasking according to Huffington Post.