Back in the day multi tasking was the way we were all going to become efficient goal achievers. Only problem was, we got burnt out, and multitasking was in the bad books.
Then, single tasking became the way we were all going to live in a state of mindfulness and flow.
Only - have you ever noticed how days seem to be getting busier? And it's hard to fit in work, family, personal transformation, fitness, nutritious meal preparation, connecting with loved ones, maintaining a home, financial paperwork... aaargh. Who manages juggling all this and approaches eahc task with flow?
I used to have perfectionist standards when it came to my own personal growth. I tried to work out how to fit in journalling three pages each morning with an hour of meditation per day, an hour of yoga and reading inspirational works. I'm sure I could have managed it, if only I'd given up my studies, job and friends. My approach to mindfulness was burning me out.
Now I see things differently. I see one minute of meditation as a triumph, that you meditated. I see yoga while listening to a business training as inspiring. When I fell into the habit of taking my daughter driving to get her to sleep (I am very forgiving of my shortcomings as a mama - my methods are imperfect but my love is perfect is my mantra) I listened to audiobooks at the same time.
So there's a benefit of multitasking - when we do it mindfully, for optimum benefit not out of a frenetic attempt to do more, more, more. Sometimes doing things small means we get to do them, when waiting for perfection means they don't happen at all. And sometimes fitting the personal growth, fitness and spiritual practice into our day means we live from a place of inspiration rather than frustration.
Here's how I use multitasking mindfully:
- 1Pair up a task that can be done on autopilot, with one that stimulates the mind or soul. This might be listening to a lecture or audiobook while driving, meditating while commuting to work by train, or saying your affirmations while taking a shower.
- 2See the worth in practicing a new healthy habit in tiny increments. Jog on the spot while you wait for the kettle to boil. Recite a mantra for the duration of a commercial break.
- 3Lying in bed waiting for sleep is a great time to meditate. Sure, people preach that you should try not to sleep while meditating but the way I see it, any meditation is great, and if it helps you sleep even better.
- 4If you finding yourself waiting for a friend, or in a queue or waiting room for an appointment, have a book, notebook for sketching or mind mapping, meal planner or knitting at the ready to feel like the time has been well used. If you find yourself without something to do, consider it an opportunity to practice mindful breathing and grounding visualisation rather than sitting there tapping your foot in frustration.
The difference with multi tasking this time round is it's not about cramming in as much as possible to get as far as possible. This time, consider the goal fitting in things that matter and making slow schedule adjustments until you find your sense of balance and flow.
I'd like to hear from you - do you have practices you haven't found time to do perfectly so they haven't happened at all? And how could you fit in something nourishing in a small increment or a multitask?
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