Saturday DO

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DO:one thing at a time.

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I recently read, My Life as an Experiment, by A.J. Jacobs. Each chapter explores a new lifestyle experiment, and there was one in particular – “The Unitasker” – which made a significant impact on my thinking. In this chapter, Jacobs makes a commitment to do only one thing at a time. They say that people who unitask, as opposed to multitask, actually get more done. In addition, they are more aware of the task they are doing – rather than performing it as a rote task with disengaged cognition.

Jacobs has to work hard at “unitasking.” It involves eating dinner with no TV on in the background, talking on the phone with his eyes closed, writing his book without intermittently surfing the internet, and tough mental work to stay concentrated while seeing a task through to its end.

To assist in his concentration, Jacobs tries out meditation and implements a method self-deemed as, “The Bill Murray Method.” It’s simple: he cognitively says to himself what he is doing as he does it. For example, I’m walking down the street, smelling the leftover rain, and looking at the storm-cleared sky. It sounds ridiculous, but there is a point. It’s active participation in whatever you’re doing.

Active participation allows you to fully take in what’s going on and appreciate things as they happen. It’s a hard thing to achieve if you are doing 10 million things at once, but today try not to. Do one thing at a time. Talk to your friend on the phone and listen. Don’t play a game or try to get your bills done while she’s talking. You don’t have to implement “The Bill Murray Method” and speak to yourself, but take note of what’s going on. It will help you to fully experience life, soak up things as they happen, and, in the end, actually get more things done.

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Comments

Lisa -September 10, 2011, 9:52AM

So, so true! I have my first day off today for 3 MONTHS and that’s exactly how I’m going to spend it.. thanks for the push, Naomi :-)

erin -September 10, 2011, 12:53PM

I love this! It reminds me quite a bit of what Eckhart Tolle talks about in his books of being in the moment and completely aware.

Abigail Mitchell -September 10, 2011, 12:54PM

As a multi-tasker myself, I can definitely relate to attempting to fight these urges..

Free People, I’m working on a project right now I think you all would find of interest! I am a designer and a writer. For 30 days, I am creating something each day. Whether it be a poem or painting or a meal, I am intentionally creating something each day. At the end, I am writing a piece on creativity and exploring what keeps me from more actively and regularly creating.

Here is the link to my blog, I’d love it if you guys checked out my work and considered featuring anything from it! http://www.abigailkm.blogspot.com

Much love, FP!

@missmarisa -September 10, 2011, 6:20PM

this is seriously my life mantra! actively participating in your own life seems like a silly notion, but it’s definitely a concept worth embracing. love the insight. great Saturday food for thought!

Cat -September 11, 2011, 4:27AM

really nice idea. have to try that. thanks for sharig.

bohobagel -September 18, 2011, 3:35AM

This is great! Uni-task and spread the word!

Surfing Rote -February 19, 2013, 4:26PM

I would love to take that helicopter Surfing Rote. Pull in to all the breaks and just jump out !

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