We have heard about multitasking. Multitasking is considered a good trait in general. It’s an advanced capability of machines. Yes, microprocessors, which are units used in computer systems as their brains are adept in multitasking. There are many of us who are looked at in awe because of ability to do many things together.
Let me tell you one thing straight–unless you’re trying to become a good machine–multitasking is bad for you. If you want to become a whole human being–cultivate the habit of doing only one task at a time. Take a task and focus fully on it. This way you make every task both a means and an end in itself for greatest success. Being in present moment comes naturally if you pay full attention to every task in hand.
Just think for a few moments–is there really a thing called multitasking? No, there is no multitasking–not even for microprocessors. What they are actually doing is, doing one task for a while and then switching to the other at a swift rate. This switching between tasks happens at such a rapid rate that we are not able to detect it and we feel as if multitasking is happening.The same thing is done by humans who are considered multitasking. You cannot pay attention to many things at once. You have to switch your attention to many things one-by-one in order to do all of them together.
Ah, I did not intend to write this article to criticise multitasking. No I didn’t. I wanted to write about paying attention to the task in hand. Have you ever found yourself biting your nails off while reading? Have you found yourself shaking your feet while listening to someone? Do you change postures frequently while reading something? If answer to all of these is ‘yes’, it means you don’t concentrate well enough on the tasks at hand. In order to improve your concentration it is necessary to take one task at a time and give your hundred percent awareness to it. Mindfulness is more important than mere concentration, though it’s hard to tell the difference between two.
When you are listening to someone, be it a casual conversation or an intellectual discussion, you should listen as if your life is totally dependent on this one act of listening. Similarly put your whole attention into the act of speaking when you’re speaking. When you’re walking, even if it is just a casual walk, pay your whole attention to walking–observe how your feet touch the ground, how your hands move and become conscious of your breathing and conscious of your surroundings. Then these simple acts become meditation for you. Your consciousness which was scattered till now becomes one and you start living in present moment. You will find that your fears, worries and concerns will all evaporate into thin air very soon.
Just this one rule of doing one thing at a time will change your whole life. You will be a totally different person free from your problems. You will become an optimist and you would be living your life to the full.