One Thing at a Time

We seem to have got hung up on doing more than one thing at a time.  Everywhere you look there are people checking their e-mails while standing in queues; talking on the phone while walking the dog; texting while driving; checking their messages while having lunch with someone.  The technology that has brought us great freedom has also brought us the tyranny of always being available; always being able to keep in touch with everyone and everything.

Have we have forgotten the simple pleasure of doing one thing at a time?  It's sometimes referred to as 'being in the flow', being fully absorbed by whatever it is we are doing.  In yoga we call it mindfulness and it's what we practise on our mats all the time.  We come to our mat and we make it our intention to focus on just this one thing; this one body on this one mat at this one moment in time.  And it's such a relief!

You can bring that ease into more of your life when you commit to doing one thing at a time.  So when you're washing up, you're just standing at the sink doing the washing up, with care and attention.  The other stuff (the form you have to complete; the e-mail you have to send; the phone call you have to make) can all wait while you just complete this one task.

And it is such a gift to give 100% of your attention to another person.  They bask in the glow of it.  When you give a friend ALL of your attention, you are saying to them how much you value their company; how much you would like to listen to what they have to say; you are giving them your wholehearted self.  Nobody wants to feel that they aren't interesting or good enough to warrant your full attention.  Nobody wants to stop what they are saying while you check your phone for texts... again.  If you have children you will know how beautifully they respond to having all of you, even if for a short time - 10 minutes of all of you is so much more valuable than hours of half of you.

And besides, it's so good for your brain to relax into focusing on one thing.  Just doing that one thing really well.  Paying attention.  Giving your whole self to something. 

They aren't giving out awards to the person that can do the most stuff in any 24 hour period; you don't win any prizes, you just end up a bit frazzled, a bit depleted of energy, perhaps a little unhappy. 

Try doing one thing at a time.  Just for one day.  See what happens.


  1. Belinda gave me permission to post this comment, which she e-mailed me this week...

    I did this just as you said, soon after reading the post. While working around my home, I focussed on doing just one thing at a time for that one day, until that thing was completely done.

    It was great! I got loads done that I had been putting off or else starting but not finishing - because I was already doing too many things! At the end of this day, my brain as well as the house felt a whole lot less cluttered and I had a greater sense of achievement.

    I still have a lot to do, but hopefully I can have a few more well focussed and one-thing-at-a-time days like that, and then I will have formed a better habit.

    Thanks for the inspiration!



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