What Happens When You Stop Multitasking

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Photo courtesy of Heather Hazzan/The Licensing Project

Thatcher Wine

Author Thatcher Wine discovered helium got much retired of beingness erstwhile helium did it 1 happening astatine a time. He calls it “monotasking”: a signifier successful present-moment consciousness that doesn’t inquire you to unopen your eyes and crook disconnected your to-do list—and alternatively invites you to immerse yourself successful immoderate you’re up to close now.

Monotasking doesn’t necessitate peculiar grooming oregon tools, but don’t beryllium amazed if it’s much challenging than you think. Wine’s publication is simply a adjuvant guide, if you’d similar immoderate assistance getting started. His section connected play—here’s an excerpt—is 1 of our favorites.

  1. Thatcher Wine The Twelve Monotasks

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From The Twelve Monotasks: Do One Thing astatine a
Time to Do Everything Better

By Thatcher Wine

Now, much than ever, we each request to remainder and recharge, and play is 1 of the astir effectual ways we tin reset our bodies and our brains. Through play, we tin get distant from enactment physically and mentally.

We’ve often been taught that if we genuinely privation to get determination successful our lives, we person to enactment hard and enactment focused connected our goals. But what if the champion mode to get from Point A to Point B is to detour to remainder stops overmuch much frequently?

Everyone thinks enactment has to beryllium each serious, that you tin lone conscionable successful a league country oregon implicit coffee. Work meetings can, and should, hap successful places that animate creativity and antithetic ways of thinking—at the park, oregon a museum, for example—and see activities that get america retired of our heads and distant from our stress. A people astatine Stanford called “From Play to Innovation” is each astir integrating play astatine enactment to substance creativity and innovation.

There is besides a communal cognition that play for adults equals sports. Play tin beryllium thing that takes your caput disconnected mundane beingness and keeps it determination portion you reset, alleviating your anxiousness and bringing you joy. Good old-fashioned committee games are 1 mode to bash this—they person grown successful popularity successful caller years with a multitude of caller games being launched, and classics becoming apical sellers again.

David Sax writes astir analog gaming—as compared to video gaming—in The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, explaining, “With analog gaming, whether it is an intricate committee crippled oregon a child’s crippled of tag, each the players request to enactment unneurotic to make the illusion of the game. It requires a corporate concern of your imaginativeness successful an alternate world to judge that you really ain Park Avenue, and the colored slips of insubstantial successful your hands are worthy something.” The benefits that travel from monotasking your analog play—including processing focus, collaborating with others, and releasing your stress—are transferable to different parts of life.

If we enactment each the time, we get successful a rut. We thin to go burned out, anxious, and depressed. When we marque clip for play, we tin instrumentality to enactment oregon schoolhouse oregon our originative pursuits refreshed and rejuvenated. Play is not a caller invention, but successful our fast-paced, overscheduled world, we request to punctual ourselves to play, and whitethorn request to invent ways to play again.

Your Playing Monotask

Don’t Think, Just Play

For this task, you get to play! I’m going to permission it up to you to determine what benignant of play.

If you already person a athletics oregon a hobby you enjoy, consciousness escaped to bash that. But instrumentality a new, playful approach. If you’re a runner, possibly effort skipping during your run. If you’re a swimmer, get a interval to relax, oregon leap into the excavation similar a kid.

For this task, effort not to take an enactment specified arsenic chess that requires a batch of thinking, oregon thing highly sedentary similar moving connected a puzzle. Also, for now, debar video games and thing that requires a device. These are each forms of play that you tin instrumentality to later. The perfect mounting for this monotask is outdoors, wherever you tin determination your assemblage and consciousness the upwind successful your face.

If you’re successful the city, spell to the park. If you person kids, instrumentality them along. If you person a backyard, crook the sprinklers connected and tally done them. Don’t interest astir what you look similar playing, conscionable play.

If you haven’t played oregon moved your assemblage successful a while, commencement with thing reasonable—you don’t privation to wounded yourself.

Now to get started:

  1. Set speech astatine slightest 20 minutes to play, positive immoderate clip you request to get to and from your play area, and cleanup time.

  2. Choose thing you emotion to bash oregon person wanted to bash for a while.

  3. Set yourself up with immoderate you request for this activity: a bicycle, a basketball, your dog. You’re invited to play with a friend; conscionable marque definite they cognize this is not a superior workout and you won’t beryllium talking astir the office. If the speech requires you to think, past nary talking is best.

  4. Clear your caput and bask what you are doing.

  5. If you commencement reasoning astir work, life, oregon thing stressful, admit that thought and fto it go. Don’t justice yourself—it happens to everyone and we tin enactment connected becoming little distracted portion we play implicit time.

  6. Be contiguous and successful the infinitesimal with your afloat body, mind, and soul.

  7. Relax into however bully it feels to beryllium immersed successful thing completely. Let everything other successful beingness melt away.

  8. Smile. Laugh retired loud.

  9. Tell yourself, “I should bash this much often.”

  10. If your chosen enactment isn’t amusive for you, effort thing else. There are truthful galore ways to play, and truthful galore benefits. See the sidebar successful this section for much ideas, and besides cheque retired monotasking.tips.

The Urge to Multitask

Play is astir amusive and effectual erstwhile we tin truly immerse ourselves successful it.

While you are playing, ideally you volition beryllium capable to monotask without reasoning astir it. However, if you acquisition multitasking temptations and find it hard to defy them, see exploring different forms of play that mightiness amended bounds your distractions and assistance you afloat prosecute with play. Choose thing that is ridiculously fun, truthful overmuch truthful that you don’t privation to bash thing other astatine the aforesaid time.

Most outdoor play activities let for greater immersion and less interruptions than indoor options, but distractions inactive exist. While theoretically you tin multitask connected your telephone portion running, biking, hiking, fishing, and doing akin activities, I urge resisting that urge. Once you cognize what it feels similar to beryllium engaged successful play connected its own, you tin selectively adhd backmost music, podcasts, and different inheritance tasks.

No substance what, you should bask your playtime—don’t enactment portion playing!

How You’ll Know
You’re Good astatine It

The extremity of monotasking play is not astir getting successful signifier oregon becoming peculiarly skilled astatine a hobby oregon sport. If that happens, it’s great, but the existent intent is to person fun, relieve stress, and beryllium refreshed erstwhile you get backmost to everything other you request to do. You’ll cognize you are bully astatine monotasking playing when:

  1. You marque clip to play connected a regular basis.

  2. You get originative astir playing portion connected concern trips, erstwhile you are truly busy, erstwhile the upwind is bad, and successful different situations wherever you person to expend a small much vigor to get your playtime in.

  3. You are happier and little anxious.

  4. You are capable to suffer yourself successful play, not reasoning astir enactment oregon your to-do list.

  5. You question retired friends who privation to play similar you do.

  6. You make deeper connections with your children done play.


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Thatcher Wine is the laminitis and CEO of Juniper Books, a institution curating libraries and designing special-edition publication sets. Wine is the writer of The Twelve Monotasks and co-author of For the Love of Books: Designing and Curating a Home Library.

We anticipation you bask the publication recommended here. Our extremity is to suggest lone things we emotion and deliberation you might, arsenic well. We besides similar transparency, so, afloat disclosure: We whitethorn cod a stock of income oregon different compensation if you acquisition done the outer links connected this page.

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