From Multitasking to Mindfulness
I have posted on mindfulness before (look through past blog posts for the basics)- and this week’s Creatively blog builds our basic knowledge of mindfulness into application in our busy world.
We live in a society demanding us to be constantly moving, achieving, earning and doing- a frenetic pace necessitating multitasking to accomplish everything expected of us at the levels at which we are supposed to achieve them. We are expected to attain perfection at home, in relationships, socially, at work and *gasp* creatively, too. Any one of these is a full time endeavor, and we are endeavoring to achieve them simultaneously. Like any machinery- and like machinery our bodies are electrical and energy based- we cannot forever sustain this pace without consequences. Anxiety, depression, health problems and other disorders are prevalent today and part of the problem is we are running ourselves into the ground to meet impossible external standards (see last post on self esteem).
Today I suggest to you an alternative perspective: change from being a multitasker to a unitasker. Instead of push, push, push- what if you pumped the brakes and valued each task, individually? What if you honored and invested fully in each goal and aspect of your personal journey? Inevitably, the other things on your list would need to be set to the side, but I submit doing this with intention is liberating. What would happen? What would happen if you relaxed your standards of perfection? What would happen if you allocated energy to one project at a time, rather than everything at once? Would you be happier, healthier, less stressed?
Many creative people I talk to describe intense periods of creativity, followed by creative lulls where they become invested instead in self care, home projects, relationships and more. They feel guilty for not maintaining constant “level 10” creative output. Review the diametrically opposed creative personality traits blog post. Remind yourself the natural order of the universe is ebb/flow, expand/contract, and part of being a creative person is to have equal parts of very different tendencies. By giving yourself a rest from your endeavors, you are freeing up energy for your next creative push. (Of course, this is a different discussion altogether than “showing up” for creativity- and you will find a blog post here about that, too.)
In the spirit of parsimony and “unclenching” as I often refer to it in session, I will leave you today with the simple idea, and an illustrative exercise to test it with. Give yourself a week for this experiment. Take a written calendar- like a pen-and-paper calendar. Keep a list at the end of every day of everything you did, and at the beginning of every day of what you wanted to accomplish. Observe the changes that take place in the planning and the achieving over time. If you don’t notice changes, extend the length of the exercise. Come talk to me about what you find. Happiness can be found in unitasking.
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The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.