How many things are you doing *right now*? If you’re like me, you’re most likely doing any combination of the following: browsing//posting to various social media platforms, watching Netflix on your computer, responding to a push notification on your iPhone, + trying to keep up with your emoji-filled group text convo — all while actually hanging out with friends IRL or attempting to finish the work//school task at hand. When was the last time you did just *one thing* at one time? The last time you just enjoyed the voices of your friends or family?
Multitasking is second nature for most of us, but apparently, only 2% of the population can truly transition between multiple tasks at a given time. ++ the common practice of multitasking releases stress hormones + adrenaline, which can result in long-term health problems ++ you guessed it… short-term memory loss. Let’s ditch this concept of *working* in front of several screens [our TVs, laptops, tablets, + smartphones…] + simultaneous interaction [can we *really* be talking to someone else if we’re constantly texting another?]. We’re ready to say goodbye to multitasking… + hellooo to monotasking!
So, what is monotasking? You might be able to quickly guess from its name, but monotasking is *the action of focusing solely on one task at a time without interruptions*. ++ it sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, not so much for most of us [remember, you’ve been *perfecting* multitasking since at least high school!], but we’ve got a few how-to’s on how to accomplish just one thing at a time.
#1] LIVE WELL
This might be the easiest how-to for CHAARG girls ; ) — but really *living well* will do wonders for your monotasking. Exercise has proven to boost brain function + focus, so definitely keep the #sweatsesh on your daily schedule! Dehydration can negatively affect concentration + lack of sleep is [obviously!] associated with the inability to focus — so, it’s important to get in those eight glasses of H2O + eight hours of sleep! There’s no doubt about it — you have to take care of your body in order to prep the mind for monotasking.
#2] CREATE YOUR IDEAL ENVIRONMENT
TBH, just make it easy for yourself! When it comes to monotasking, taking control of the environment is far more effective than trying to practice sheer willpower. Are you always checking Instagram when you need to be cranking out an essay? Turn off your phone + put it in the other room. Missed another episode of The Bachelorette with the roommates because you were texting the entire time? Charge your phone elsewhere or choose another time to catch up on your show. Let’s stop making monotasking hard for ourselves + see what we can actually do when we only do one thing.
#3] FIND FLOW
Flow is the time period when you’re really in your groove + crushing this whole monotasking thing. So, when you *finally* find it, try your very best to stay in it as long as possible! It can be really easy to feel successful after a certain point + you might want to reward yourself by switching over to something else [social media, texting, Netflix, etc.], but push through! I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to checking my Facebook a few times while writing this post, but I also quickly learned that my creativity + the ease of formulating my ideas was much more on point once I found + stayed in my own personal flow. When you find it, keep it!
#4] PLAN, PLAN, + PLAN
One of the main reasons for why we multitask is because we haven’t firmly established how to spend our time. When there’s a significant amount of *free time* or we simply haven’t defined what we’re doing with a particular portion of our day, it can quickly get away from us as we multitask into oblivion. Each morning [or even the night before if you’re a planner!], determine the most important tasks for your day. Then, take a good look at your calendar [we swear by Google Calendars + Passion Planners!] + schedule in where you can actually accomplish these tasks. That way, you know exactly when you should be monotasking [+ taking over the world ; )] + when you can take breaks! ++ if possible, as you’re monotasking, go offline! There’s nothing worse than a push notification or a rogue email that can throw you off course + out of your flow.
#5] BE MINDFUL IN EVERYTHING YOU DO
Once you start monotasking, putting 110% into everything you do can be exhausting. Instead of being overwhelmed by your newfound concentration, be *empowered* by it. Take a page from our love of mindfulness ++ transform the mindless + monotonous into truly mindful actions. When you do all things with purpose, you’ll find your flow faster — so, go ahead + amaze yourself! ; )
Not sure how to start? Just like monotasking, start with *one thing*. Trying eating at least one meal per week without sitting in front of a screen [cellphone, included!]. Create small meditation breaks [brew tea//coffee, take a walk around the block, etc.] + practice them throughout your day. Start using your iPhone timer [we love this Pomodoro app!] to keep your monotasking in check + remember, *one thing* can change your life.
+Jessica [@jessicasmith_inchaarg] // VirtCHAARG NYC