Single-Task for Peaceful Productivity


Do you remember simpler times? A time when digital clocks, microwaves, and cordless phones were brand new. When devices didn’t ask you to download, update, and sync on a daily basis.

I find myself trying to acclimate to the digital age, but notice that the information age updates faster than I compute. I try to keep pace with technology. I even act like a computer with multiple tabs open to do many tasks at once.

When Multi-Tasking Leaves You Drained

My lists have lists, because I am a productivity junkie. I like being efficient and timely, yet I notice that I feel more stressed and frenzied when I multi-task. I may get a lot accomplished, but feel weathered and worn by dinner time.

Are you looking for more energy and focus in your day? Do you think multi-tasking is doing you in too? If yes, join me in practicing the following Liberating Choice: We don’t have to act like a multi-tasking computer.

Single-Tasking for Peaceful Productivity

Instead we can still be productive by single-tasking. Really, it’s possible.

Like learning most new skills, it may take frequent reminders to turn this choice into a habit. I use questions to cue myself to focus on one task at a time:

  • Can this task wait?
  • What’s the most important thing to be doing in this moment?
  • Do I really want to cram one more thing into this moment?

Single-tasking brings more calm and peace. When I’m cramming in as much as possible, I expect others to do the same and move at a frenzied pace. Yet I’m more patient and a better listener when I am focused on one thing at a time.

While single-tasking is not a natural skill for me, I’ve noticed I enjoy savoring the moment more than multi-tasking. If you are ready to make this liberating choice your own, here are some single-tasking tips to get you started:

  • Savor the moment by slowing down to listen (listen to the rain fall, to a loved one, to your own voice)
  • Create space by scheduling less activities/tasks/appointments in your day
  • Be less tempted by getting rid of internet access on your cell phone
  • Notice what you miss out on when you move through your day with the focus on a multi-tasking computer

While reminding myself to do one thing at a time is a work in progress. I am finding that I get more out of being fully present in the moment. In these moments, I connect, create, and restore.

What helps you savor the moment and still be productive?


Related Posts: Top 5 Focusing Tips in a Distracted World; How Busy People Find More Time and Space 

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Photo Credit: “Artist Under Bridge” by Randy Robertson

6 responses to “Single-Task for Peaceful Productivity

  1. I multi-task because I get bored of the first task I’m doing. It’s not an easy habit to break.

    • Boredom, yes is a culprit too. For me, it’s mostly thinking i’m superwomen and can fly at warp speed. I’m getting better at this new way of productivity, but I still need to remind myself almost daily!

  2. I can’t done this on my time! very harsh for me the day of cramming…….

  3. Hi Marci,
    I struggle with single tasking. Sometimes when I am feeling in ‘the zone’ while performing a task, for whatever reason, I get worked up and almost overwhelmed. which leads me to take a break, which leads to performing a different task. So by the end up that hour, I find myself performing way more than a single task!
    My goal this coming week is to slow down. I plan to incorporate your tips to help me focus and single task 🙂
    Cheers to productivity!

    • Tali, I would love to hear how your week goes when you intentionally slow down.

      I think we can do more than one thing in any given hour. I know I do, unless I’m writing or sleeping, then it’s in the zone time. I think of multi-tasking as trying to do multiple tasks at the same time. That’s where I lose my focus and gain tension!