Mindfulness & Multitasking

Posted on by leapforward

January 2010

Mindfulness: learning how to be productive while remaining focused and aware.

Do you suffer from multi-tasking overload? Multitasking has become a way of life and is often at odds with mindfulness. If our time and energy are being pulled in several directions at once, we are unable to fully focus our awareness on anything. Instead of multitasking, practice being mindful – focus on being mindful to improve your productivity and quality of life.

Happy New Year from Leap Forward Coaching LLC and best wishes for 2010! I commend my clients for your commitment to personal and professional development and I look forward to being your partner for success in a new year filled with new opportunities. In this edition, our topic is Mindfulness: learning how to be productive while remaining focused and aware. Take the time to mindfully experience each day and focus on living your best life possible. May your New Year be filled with peace, joy, and fulfillment, Melanie Ott

Inspirational Quote

“Often he who does too much, does too little.” ~Italian Proverb

“Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all your energies on a limited set of targets.” ~Nido Quebein

Multitasking vs. Mindfulness

If you are like most of us, multitasking has become a way of life. The ability to juggle multiple tasks at once is a point of pride for many, especially executives, and the ability to multitask appears as a standard requirement in job listings. The term was created to describe the concurrent performance of several jobs at once by computers, but began to be used to describe the constant distractions of our hectic modern lifestyle.

Do You Suffer From Multitasking Overload?

How much time do you spend not being mindful? See if you identify with any of these statements from a University of Rochester questionnaire:

I find it difficult to focus on what’s happening in the present. I feel I’m “running on automatic” without much awareness of what I’m doing. I snack without paying much attention to what I’m doing. I tend to walk quickly to get where I’m going without paying attention to what I experience along the way. I find myself listening to someone with one ear and doing something else at the same time. I tend not to notice physical tension or discomfort until they really grab my attention. I rush through activities without being really attentive to them.

One study indicates multitasking causes the average worker’s functioning IQ to drop 10 points – more than double the four point drop caused by smoking marijuana. Instead of increasing efficiency and quality of life, switching back and forth between thoughts and actions can actually have a negative influence on productivity and cause increased mental stress.

In his excellent business fable, The Myth of Multitasking (How “Doing It All” Gets Nothing Done), business coach Dave Crenshaw describes the havoc multitasking wreaks on productivity and stress levels in both professional and personal spheres. “Just like your brain, the computer can’t really focus on two or more things at the same time. What the processor is really doing is switching rapidly between one program and the other, giving the illusion that its doing it all at the same time.”

Multitasking is often at odds with mindfulness. If our time and energy are being pulled in several directions at once, we are unable to fully focus our awareness on anything. This can cause inefficiency, loss of memory, and poor quality work, while placing tremendous stress on our brains.

Instead of multitasking, practice being mindful – focusing your attention on what you are experiencing in each moment. This focus can be a healthy counterbalance to the stress of a constantly distracted life. Focus on being mindful to improve your productivity and quality of life as you put your full energy into each task and become increasingly aware of each moment.

Do You Suffer From Multitasking Overload?

How much time do you spend not being mindful? See if you identify with any of these statements from a University of Rochester questionnaire:

Mindfulness: Tips for Eliminating Distractions

Here are some great ways to improve your focus:
Make your first task of each day your Most Important Task of the Day. Focus your attention completely on that task until it is completed. Take a short break, then start on the next prioritized task. If you can complete 2-3 such tasks in a morning, your whole day will go much more smoothly.

Fight the sense of urgency accompanying small interruptions. This stress destroys focus – and urgency is not productivity. When you feel compelled to allow a non-urgent distraction to steal your attention, stop. Breathe deeply and refocus your energies on the task at hand.

Create boundaries to protect your attention from passive distractions that can continually sap your focus. Strategies can include planning your day in single-task blocks, with intervals reserved for any surprises that occur during the day, or scheduling regular appointments with employees or others who need regular, ongoing input and assistance.

Focus on the Future …

What do these questions of multitasking and mindfulness have to do with career and life planning? Simply put: If you are living your life in a constant state of distraction, you may be unable to effectively manage the time you need to think effectively, accomplish tasks, filter, organize and prioritize the information your brain is receiving, and focus on things that are truly important.

That’s where Leap Forward Coaching can help. We have a process that will help you live more skillfully by becoming aware of the internal and external factors shaping your self-image and worldview and your ability to achieve your full potential for success and happiness.

If I have piqued your curiosity about the value of coaching for you or someone you know, please contact me for a complimentary coaching meeting to explore what coaching can do for you. Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you think it may benefit.
Leap Foward Coaching

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