I’ve been reading a wonderful book called The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. In a nutshell the book teaches you to do away with making a million lists and multi-tasking. Instead, it asks you one question, the answer to which will radicalize the way you work, live, love and play.
What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
The book has highlighted and explained in words, a few things that I’ve been feeling for a while. Being a mum we are the masters of multi-tasking, and while we think it helps us get a lot of things done it’s also our undoing. I am on a path to mindfulness, especially when it comes to being a mum. I want to be HERE, 24/7, plug into this very moment, and get the most that I can out of the first few very precious years of my son’s life. I want to learn to be mindful, to listen, to be patient, to be kind, to be present. All these things require mindfulness, and focus on whatever it is that you are doing at this very moment.
I don’t want to rush through my life any more jacked up on coffee, constantly living in the rat race of my mind thinking about all the things that need to be done while i’m doing important things like raising a human being.
Before I even read the book I’ve started culling things I knew were robbing me of my intention. The first being coffee. If you’ve ever seen the movie Click with Adam Sandler, coffee (for me) is like pressing fast forward on my life remote. It supercharges my productivity but completely turns off my mindfulness. I can get a hell of a lot of things done, but ask me what I did throughout the week and I couldn’t tell you because my body was working but my mind was somewhere else. This is what it’s been like for so many years, and any “grown up” will tell you that the longer you live, the quicker the years fly by. Time doesn’t change, but how mindful we are during that time does. We become so busy rushing around, getting things done before we die, that we forget to actually live.
If you haven’t noticed, my Instagram and social media presence has changed a lot lately. I actually deleted my Instagram account because it was robbing precious time from my life. Time that I have captured in moments and received a whole bunch of likes for, but time I wasn’t actually living in the moment. It also time I was stealing from other people by taking their attention to troll my photos, instead of living their lives.
It’s the key to living a longer and much happier life. Children seem to get it, but as adults we completely forget. As a child, the time between Christmases and birthdays drags on forever, because we aware of every single day between that time. Just like when you are waiting for five minutes before you can leave work on a Friday, because you are present, that time is actually quite long.
If you’ve ever gone for a walk with a child, you know it takes forever to cover a relatively short distance because children SEE the world around them. They notice the ants, the bugs, the flowers, the cracks on the pavement while we rush past it all, headphones in ears, trying to cover as much distance as we can and get our heart rate up to burn up all the calories we’ve mindlessly consumed.
The same applies to our productivity. We try to do so many things at once that at the end of the day we don’t really get anything done properly. You can’t listen and type at the same time. You can’t drive and visualise things at the same time. For example if someone is telling you about their new home, and all the visual details while you are driving you will activate your visual cortex in your mind thus disengaging from what you’re supposed to be looking at, which is the road in front of you.
At work we find ourselves juggling e-mail, text messaging, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, phone calls, Facebook, and trying to engage in conversations with actual people. We are in a constant state of context switching.
This is a problem. A study found that a typical office worker gets only 11 minutes between each interruption, while it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption. But there has been scant research on the quality of work done during this time.
So back to the One Thing.
Imagine focusing on doing just one thing at a time. How much more simple will your life, and head space be. When you are washing the dishes, just do the dishes. When you are playing with your kids, just play with your kids. When you are working, just do your work. Simple.
So this is my practice lately. Pick one that things really important and just do that. For me, that’s studying for my upcoming exams and finishing my nutrition degree. That’s my focus and priority during “work mode” everything else does not require my attention.
When it’s mummy time, that’s what I’m doing. Being a mother. When I'm listening to my husband, I am listening to my husband, not texting or thinking about things that I need to do.
I’m not always successful, but like any skill it’s about practice and you will only get stronger the more often you do it. So have a think about your one thing, and go do that.
ps. How cute is my Pedal Uptown Bike form 99 Bikes!
We know the silly season can get...well a little bit silly! With an abundance of parties, platters and pinots, staying on the healthy wagon can prove a little challenging. However, with that being said, we are all about balance and enjoying everything in moderation! Read tips from our favourite wellness pros for a happy and healthy festive season.