I Am Writing This Blog

The other night I was watching the news, listening to music, checking email, cooking dinner and reading a magazine (oh, and watching Caroline) when I came across a great piece by A.J. Jacobs in Real Simple. The article, an excerpt from his book The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment, talks about Jacobs' quest to unitask as part of what he calls Project Focus. Jacobs details with hilarity his 30 days of multitasking detox which includes tying himself to his chair with an extension cord, squirming through a meditation session and saying out loud everything he is doing at a given moment. The piece ends with Jacobs dedicating ten minutes to placing nickels in a piggy bank with his son. While almost impossible, the author manages to simplify each individual moment of his day and understand the value of focus.

When was the last time you did just one thing at any given moment? I think about how often I respond with"multitasking" when Caroline asks me what I'm doing. As a mom, we often have no choice but to manage multiple activities and thoughts at one time. This is probably why many of them complain of forgetfulness due to over stimulation. Most moms have no problem stirring a pot of pasta, talking on the phone and toting a baby on their hip. Or driving the car and slapping a kid in the backseat. Or feeding the baby while folding laundry and writing out checks. And yes, maybe even making the mental grocery list while partaking in some nooky. You know you've done that one. And seriously, who can just sit on the toilet nowadays and stare at a wall? Why not flip through that old Sky Mall and convince yourself that Aunt Sally really would like those smiling solar tiki torches for Christmas.

It is very rare that I do just one thing at a time. I have to stop myself from starting activity 2 or 3 before finishing the first. I never watch TV without the laptop or a book open. I only listen to music or the radio while driving or reading. I have tons of windows open on my browser and flip back and forth between them every few seconds. I was painting the house over the weekend but my mind was busily thinking up new blog posts. Most of us are pretty darn pleased with ourselves when we kill two birds with one stone. Why doesn't our society value just one dead bird anymore?

Following in A.J. Jacob's foot steps, I am trying to concentrate on the here and now and enjoy doing one simple thing at a time. I read a story to Caroline tonight without the TV on or music playing or the duster in my hand. I do yoga. I take a shower, alone, in silence. Yeah, that's about it. Even in my sleep I'm multitasking by dreaming up some really crazy dreams that leave me exhausted and wondering what exactly my mind is trying to tell me.

They say awareness is the first step in recovery so at least I know I have a problem. So, wait-what have I been writing about here? I was just trying to watch a movie and paint my toe nails while finishing this up. It doesn't matter. I'm getting so much done tonight! Go me!


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