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One-Liner Wednesday: Perspectives on Multi-tasking, Mindfulness and Focus

47 Comments

“Totally Focused on Every Task All the Time.”

Really? That’s what it says on a pin that showed up on my table. I have no idea where it came from or where it is now.  It looks like one of the many items of memorabilia that belonged to my parents. But it’s a railroad pin, and my dad wasn’t with the railroad. Maybe it appealed to his USMC gunny side. 

The slogan  struck me as absurd. My husband David understood it as a safety directive. But from a wellness perspective, it sounds awfully unhealthy to me. I’ve read that there really is no such thing as multitasking, just shifting attention very, very fast from one task to another.

One of the components of mindfulness is doing one thing at a time. Ka at Fiesta Estrellas has an excellent five minute mindfulness meditation that includes the suggestion that all things in awareness are of equal importance while meditating. Please see her helpful comments below. I’m still processing…. and practicing…..

What do you think? Could being totally focused on every task all the time ever be a good thing?

Here’s an alternative perspective: 

What we focus on gets bigger. Choose wisely. 

 

For lots of wise or witty one-liners, visit our host, Linda Hill at:

One-Liner Wednesday – Is time ever wasted? | (lindaghill.com)

Author: JoAnna

An open minded, tree-hugging Jesus follower, former counselor, and life-long lover of animals, I'm returning to my creative roots and have published my first book: Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again as well as the short version: From Loneliness to Love.

47 thoughts on “One-Liner Wednesday: Perspectives on Multi-tasking, Mindfulness and Focus

  1. Dear JoAnna,
    I happened to catch this post this morning. I want to be clear that “being” and “doing “ in awareness are different concepts. For one, it is mindful to “do” one task at a time. Secondly, the way the awareness is meant in the context of meditation is to take an equal response (equanimity) to the experience of what one is witnessing in meditation: thoughts, breaths, sensations…
    This is not saying to pay attention to everything (tasks) all at once. Mental health and wellness is important. If you also look deeply into meditation trainings, there are caveats about mental illness and meditation. Meditation does not work for everyone all the time. Just some thoughts to contribute because you referenced and linked my site. Thanks! Processing is so important and valuable. I hope I’ve made a meaningful contribution with this comment here and can explain how I think your interpretation is grouping “being” and “doing” together. What are your thoughts now?

  2. One way to interpret “Totally focused on Every Task all of the Time” is to take one task at a time, and give to it fully. However, I think in reality, extreme goals are also that, “extreme.” Lol 😂 Let’s lighten up, right? But one can also interpret this as “one task at a time,” so I think there isn’t really a true discrepancy, perhaps only an apparent one. Happy processing…

    • I think the “Let’s lighten up” is what I was going for in my response to the message on the pin I found. Being totally focused on one task at a time makes sense, and I can do it totally for a second or two. Practice always helps. Thanks again for your clarification and ideas, Ka. Processing…. 🙂

      • What is the pin? I’m not sure I understand. Was it a physical item or a Pinterest “pin” or something like that? Also, I think when we meditate, the awareness that sometimes comes is that the stimulus that we are responding to is inner and manufactured from within us. When we close our eyes and respond to the sensations of the environment, our thoughts and inner reactions, we have more clarity about from where the stimulus is arising. I am definitely practicing on all these aspects of awareness myself, and each new layer of the onion so to speak 🙂 yes, let’s lighten up 🌟✨🌟

        • Thanks for asking about the pin. I hadn’t even thought of a Pinterest pin. Maybe I should have called it a button. (like a campaign button.) It was about the size of a nickel. I wish I had taken a picture before it disappeared. I probably threw it away, though I still have a small collection. I’m sure my reaction to this particular button was/is related to my history of feeling overwhelmed in the past and wanting to maintain my peace and freedom which is no longer threatened. Maybe I’ll explore that. Or maybe I’ll let it go and be grateful for the awareness as it is. You are doing some awesome practicing!

  3. I prefer “What we focus on gets bigger. Choose wisely.” I am not a person that can focus on every task, all the time. There are moments when I am simply not paying attention, when my mind wanders, and thankfully there are usually no dire consequences. Your post reminds me to focus on what’s important at the time, Joanna, to be mindful in what I’m doing and that might be a good challenge for this month.

  4. Multi-tasking is a myth. Humans can’t really do it. Task-switching, what we think of as multi-tasking is not an efficient way to get things done. Choose wisely, indeed.

    • I agree! Multi-tasking over time adds a lot of stress. One task at a time, when possible, is healthier as well as more efficient. I need reminders. 🙂

  5. I used to do a lot of “multitasking” as a single working mom. I’ve found, though, that it’s essential to focus on one task at a time for best results and saying “no” to some tasks, when possible.

  6. Going through many roads get no where.

    Matthew 6:22 KJV
    The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

    The best way to maximize destiny is to focus on what we are called to do and say no to other things. One step at a time is definitely the way to go.

  7. That pin seems a bit much for humanity. My version would be ‘Do whatever you do to the best of your ability’

  8. Yeah. Not a huge fan of multitasking. I have been a “mono-tasker” for a long time.

  9. Thank you for sharing!.. I tried multi-tasking once, the results were less that desirable… I have a to do list with a number of tasks, listed in priorities, but I finish one before I start another… “When one suddenly finds oneself in a swamp up to one’s armpits in alligators, it is difficult to remember the objective was to drain the swamp”….. 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May you always be blessed
    with walls for the wind,
    a roof for the rain,
    a warm cup of tea by the fire,
    laughter to cheer you,
    those you love near you,
    and all that your heart might desire.
    (Irish Saying)

    • Lists are good, especially when priorities are clarified and followed. It sounds like you’ve done very well on this. Thank you for the reminder about how helpful lists are. And thankyou for the lovely Irish saying!

  10. At one point in my life I could kind of multitask. Now I am lucky if I can complete just a single task. Thank you for reading my memoir of my life as a military wife. I had to leave the USMC out of there and use the generic term of military as it is possible to be sued for writing and using United States Marine Corp, their bases and everything else pertaining to them. It was not the original first chapter, but when I looked up what I was going to use I was glad I did. I was not allowed to use it and the last thing I wanted was being sued by USMC. Anyone with any knowledge of the USMC would recognize it though.

    • Thank you for the information. I had not thought about being sued for writing about the Marine Corps. I’ve been planning to read some books (novels and nonfiction) about Vietnam, and see how that’s done. So far, what I have is a fictionalized family history based on stories my dad told me and his letters.

      • I didn’t either. I went looking for some info to refresh my mind and found out that they have everything imaginable related to the USMC copyrighted and with the possibility of a lawsuit.

        • Yikes! If you happen to have any links, I’d appreciate reading about this. I googled it last night and got distracted by a book called, Dear America, Letters from Vietnam. The letters had a lot of info, but didn’t mention particular branches of the military, except the army. Oh, well, for right now, this is for my kids and close friends of my parents.

          • I tried to figure out where I went but can’t find the links. It keeps taking me here (https://www.hqmc.marines.mil/ousmcc/Units/Marine-Corps-Trademark-Licensing-Program/FAQ/) and then there is just a section that says there are over 600 trademarked words, graphics, etc. I can’t find the original stuff I read. Never thought I would need it again. I started by looking up what originally sent me on that mission, but it isn’t coming up for me. I will try again to see if something else shows up. It has been a few years, but I can’t imagine it all went away. There was quite a list besides the few you see on this page which I am copy/pasting in here: What trademarks require permission to use from the Marine Corps?
            There are more than 600 registered Marine Corps trademarks requiring permission to use. The Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem, the term Marine Corps, Marines, U.S. Marine Corps, the initials USMC, enlisted rank insignia, unit logos, and USMC slogan, The Few. The Proud, and the official Seal are deemed insignia owned by the United States Marine Corps. This list is not exhaustive, and if you have any questions about any Marine Corps-branded marks, please request permission before proceeding. Hope this helps you research on your own.

            • Thank you, Tessa. This does help. Don’t spend too much time looking on my behalf. I know you have your own WIP to work on. I’ll keep these in mind and search more before I publish anything.
              Thank you!!!

            • Just one more question, and please don’t look it up. I was just wondering if you recall the phrase, “the corps” being on the list. I’m looking at the link you sent, now. I suppose that could be a nick name. I’ll keep looking. Thanks again!

              • I would think it would depend on how you used it. There are other things that are corps suck as a drum and bugle corps, but if it pertained to the USMC the way I understood it, it was a problem. I don’t know why I can’t find the list I found before. It basically covered anything dealing with the USMC and other branches too. They trademarked everything pertaining to them.

  11. When I try to fully focus on all things at all times stuff tends to slip through the cracks. I’ve begun listening to a bit of meditative music when I lie down in the afternoon and am astounded at how relaxed I am when the time is over.

    • Listening to meditative music or a compatible guided meditation can work wonders! I often need to lie down to stretch out my back in the afternoon. Listening to something soothing is much better than checking my email or social media. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. I multi task well in the kitchen, because that’s required, but I truly prefer to focus on one thing at a time. I’m adaptable, but my best efforts in anything are when I’m focused.

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