Mindfulness vs. Multitasking

Minding your mind is an extraordinary thing you can do for your well being. In this current age of incessant digital dialogue we find ourselves overwhelmed, over-tasked, unmindful and unwell.

New research from Stanford University reveals that multi-tasking actually increases our distractibility, reduces our memory, efficiency, and performance.

Unfortunately the damage from multi-tasking isn't just temporary, a study at the University of Sussex suggests that multitasking lowers the density in our brain that affects our empathy, cognition and emotional control. This not only causes poor attention, but attributes to anxiety and depression and even reduces our intelligence!

Being able to focus on one task at hand will greatly increase your mindfulness, intelligence and wellness. But what happens to all those constant bings and plings from texts, instant messages, social media, emails, and the television? Give yourself permission to be mindful for lengths of times and plug in only during certain times (even if it's that last 10 minutes of every hour).

Be a Mindful Manager of Your Time
So what about that monster mountain of things you need to get done? I'll save you time and make this short and sweet...

  1. Get and use a planner (a store bought planner or a notebook, binder, etc)
  2. Create categories for your life (wellness, relationships, house & family management, business, spirit, fun, projects...) and write down your goals, ambitions, dreams, need-to-do's and want-to-do's
  3. Schedule time blocks in your planner for all the important things you want and need to do. (A block of time for organizing your time, work, play, family, cleaning, errands, projects, reading, plugging into the digital world...) 
  4. During each time block, focus on that activity only.
  5. When ideas or distractions come in (and they will) have a Catch-All notebook (or Google Keep note) and write it down, then refocuse on the activity at hand.
  6. When it's your "time management" time, collect your catch-all items and schedule the important activities and file the rest items in your category binders to revisit.
Practice Mindfulness
  1. Schedule time for mindfulness and meditation every day.
  2. Be a mindful eater -- it can even help you loose weight!
  3. While driving, try turning off (not only the phone) but your radio. Pay attention to the world on the street and around you. You might just be amazed at everything you've been missing out on.
  4. Go for a walk (without your device -- or at least mute it and tuck it away somewhere). What a world to behold. Notice the sights, sounds, smells, feeling. 


Resources:

Why Smart People Don't Multitask- Linked In
Brain scans reveal 'gray matter' differences in media multitaskers - Eureka Alert
Media multitaskers pay mental price, Stanford study shows - Stanford News