Zen and the Art of Singletasking

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“You can’t pay attention to two things simultaneously. You’re switching back and forth between the two. So you’re paying less concerted attention to either one.”

Dr Edward Hallowell

Something that has really piqued my interest over the last few days has been the concept of “singletasking” – effectively the antithesis of “multitasking”.

Over the past few months I have become increasingly aware of the overheads that result from over-committing limited processing resources. In other words, I’ve noticed that trying to do too much results in too little getting done.

This very blog post is a perfect example.

I started writing it four days ago. In that time I’ve also half-written about 5 other posts. So in four days I’ve written six posts, which would be great if any of them were a) any good, b) complete, c) publishable.

Sadly it’s failure from a to c.

As my awareness of the scatterbrain-tasking phenomenon has grown, so has my determination to reverse the effects of what has, over the past few years, become a thinking-habit.

I’m also curious as to the aggregate effect – if my own experience is an indicator then the broader issue has potentially far-reaching social consequences.

I’ve come across a number of blog posts and articles that has had me thinking about the situation from contrasting angles. For ease of digestion, and not oblivious to the irony of it, I’ve decided to publish these as a series of individual posts rather than as a comprehensive single post.

That way, you (the reader) can pay your full attention to each of the sub-topics and so start down the path to single-tasking utopia.

Click here to read Part 1

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