Let’s bring back single tasking – a commentary

Another strange post, but again I sort of have a point to it. Single tasking. For a lot of us, we don’t even realize that we’re almost constantly mult-tasking. Things we take for granted doing in tandem are really mult-tasking, verses single tasking. Mutl-tasking saves time! Effort! Occasionally even money!

Mult-tasking is a sneaky thing. Many of us thrive off of it; after all it’s helpful to accomplish several smaller tasks at once. I often have the tv or Spotify playing in the background while I cook. I’ll throw on a podcast while doing long distance travel. I’ll have my laundry going while I answer emails, cleaning or something along those lines. I tend to have my afterwork snack while watching an anime or drama episode.

These are not evils that need to gotten rid of. Being honest, focusing exclusively on just watching your laundry machine run isn’t time effective unless you’re checking to see if it works. Having something playing while driving is a very common thing that most people who drive do. In large part, none of these are particularly dangerous or nefarious things to be doing.

So is it actually a problem?

For some of us, absolutely not. However, for me recently the answer was yes, hence this post. In my opinion many things have a bigger rewards if you do them as a single task nothing else going on in the background. I’m not one to really evaluate what I do while I’m doing it at a given time. A habit is a habit, and until there’s a problem I’m probably not going to change it.

The sneaky side effects of mult-tasking started to manifest in my blogging habits.

When I first started blogging, I often would have a podcast/music/youtube video/etc playing in the background. That seems innocent enough. I’m sure there are plenty of bloggers who do the same thing. Kill two birds with one stone right? Get a new blog post drafted, and find some new music to jam to, maybe even write about it later. Except, I would find myself writing for nearly an hour without making a single serious line of text on a post.

What gives? It hadn’t been a problem when I started.

Then came the headaches. It hurt my ears to listen to music even without headphones on the lowest volume. I would go literal days without listening to Youtube, or Spotify because my ears would be ringing nonstop for no other reason then I was constantly bombarded by sound. Music, youtube, tv, even anime and dramas became too much for my hearing.

I don’t have some medical reason. Not that I went to a doctor to check, which I perhaps should have. This overstimulation came and went. I know for me I took ten steps back, and really started evaluating my mult-tasking habits. No more true crime documentaries and dinner anymore. Coupling those things together was throwing off my eating habits. Messing up my digestion speed (I will refrain from elaborating on that), not to mention the sensory overload it was giving me. Instead, I re-focusing on just preparing my meal and savoring it. A hard feat for someone who lives alone, believe it or not.

I started dialing back when and where I watched anime/dramas. I would watch an episode after work, one or two while laundry was running, and maybe one before bed. That was it. No more trying to cram it while cleaning/cooking/emailing/dual-screen and blogging.

Honest to god (or whomever you may believe in) something really started to change. We’re finally getting back to blogging!!

When I stopped listening to something in the background while writing; it became easier to write. When I listened to music/video/etc only related to the topic at hand, it became much easier to produce, edit and publish said articles. Magically, no more music related writers block!! The ideas were flowing so smoothly I have another several rounds of notes of things I want to talk about!!

I spent more time, not only taking things as they were, but appreciating them. I took the time and effort to focus on my food, that the flavors felt better on my tongue then before. Anime became easier to watch and enjoy without laundry in the background, or even just my own mouth crunching chips. Things like music, started to root back deep into my heart when I just focused on the music itself, no MV/reaction video, or other content unless I wanted it.

Again, this is not condoning mult-tasking, or putting the practice down in general. Mult-tasking in this day and age is almost inevitable, with how the world runs these days. However, I think more and more of us are so use to mult-tasking that we have no idea what single tasking looks, or sounds like in our lives. Or even such mundane things are considered mult-tasking at all!

Yes, it can be really weird when you really scale everything back. The amount of silence that seemed to fill my house was unmistakable. I made a choice to listen to my own sounds, really pay attention to cooking/watching anime/listen to music and focusing on that moment and that alone. I got things done in a much more productive manner then I had before by compromising timing with focus.

I’m not saying give up mult-tasking, not by a long shot. However, burn out not only occurs when we forget to enjoy something, but also when we don’t give it the single-handed attention it deserves. Sometimes, things really do have to be enjoyed one thing at a time.



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