In praise of one thing at a time

My husband is a confessed single-tasker.

He can only process one to-do at a time, completing it to the best of his ability before moving on. This includes talking versus juicing, stirring the soup versus pulling bread from the toaster and walking versus texting.

And while nothing is more infuriating to one who survived raising two children by juggling six to eight different tasks simultaneously, I must admit, sometimes his way is better.

When we run outside together, my husband is always the one cautiously meets a driver’s eye before stepping into the street. And while I get irritated because he puts this practice ahead of responding to my incessant questions about nothing of any great importance, I’m glad that his brain prioritizes his actions and keeps us safe.

One skill at a time.

Completely relevant to multitasking while driving, my friend Cindy La Ferle shouted out on Facebook that she is absolutely fed up with drivers who text or talk and drive at the same time. I wonder if those who engage admit the practice is dangerous only when attempted by those less skilled at multitasking. A “Don’t try this at home, kids. We’re professionals” type thing. Like somehow they are more blessed with multitasking ability than behavior researchers and lawmakers alike could ever dream of.

Beyond the life-or-death aspect of multitasking, a busy life offers many daily reminders that we are attempting to do too much all at once. My son has lost his wallet twice in the past week, failing to find it even when he retraces his steps. After prying it from between the car’s back seat and door, he confessed to being too preoccupied to pay attention to where he throws his wallet.

Then my husband returned from yoga class carrying a parking ticket because he simply forgot to put money in the meter. “And that’s exactly why I need to go to yoga,” he said.

All roads lead back to mindfulness. When we walk around in a haze, our minds whirring with thoughts of the past or of the future, or if we are too busy reading, texting, processing or Googling to experience life in each and every moment, we get ourselves into trouble.

But will it be little trouble, like owing ten bucks for a parking ticket? Or will it be much bigger trouble with lifelong impact for us or for others? Now that’s for you to decide.

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3 Responses to In praise of one thing at a time

  1. jenhilzinger says:

    From your keypad to my heart, Claire. Thanks for the reminder. J.

  2. jenhilzinger says:

    From your keypad to my heart, Claire. Thanks for the reminder 😀 J.

  3. Wonderful post, Claire. Thanks for validating what so many of believe in and long for. Life in the slower lane.

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