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Multitasking Diminishes Pleasure

30-Day Self-Care Challenge (Part III) Day 18

We all think we’re good at multitasking.  We are certain that we can drive and talk on the phone, watch TV and eat snacks, watch TV and talk to our children, knit and listen to the television, study and watch TV, and read and listen to music without missing anything.  Recent studies have shown, that we aren’t as good at at it as we think.  The brain doesn’t function as well with more than one focus. Our attention becomes split. 

I know that multitasking doesn’t work when I’m on the phone and my computer at the same time.  While having an interesting conversation with one of my sisters tonight, I was also trying to do some mindless moving around of files–she called while I was immersed in this task.  Sure I could do both–I appeared to be successful–but I missed the enjoyment of talking with her.  I heard part or maybe even most of what she said, but I didn’t feel it and enjoy it as much as I would if I had been fully focused.  And what a shame that is.  I missed a chance for pure pleasure.

I faked attention and I think I did pretty well, but to what end?  I did two things poorly.  If we watch TV and eat snacks, we almost always overeat yet still feel hungry.  If we do not focus fully on eating the snacks, we miss the pleasure and we want more.  If we don’t fully listen to our children while they’re talking to us, they want more. 

At this moment, I’m making a rule that I will not talk on the phone to a friend if they are also on their computer.  It’s simply not satisfying.  And I certainly will honor my friends with the same rule giving them my undivided attention.  How about you?  Do  you get a sense for how much more pleasure you could have in life if you did just one thing at a time?

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  1. Anne Schrock says:

    Cheryl, you convey so well my sentiments for attempting to do more than one thing at a time; especially, carrying on a conversation.

    I have two house phones, neither of which is a carry around with a battery that signals as a conversation is about to drop off. I don’t have a phone in the den or the kitchen. And, when I’m engaged in a phone conversation……they have my undivided attention.

  2. Hi Anne: Sometimes “limitations” are a good thing :) And I bet your conversations are high quality. Cheryl

  3. Julie Trowbridge says:

    I remember many years ago hearing at a Zen center that I needed to pay strict attention to whatever I was doing. That evening I washed dishes for the first time with pleasure, enjoying the soap bubbles, the running water, the disappearance of the dirt on the plates, the sparkle of the glasses. I still try to focus on the here and now, and when I do I notice how much more meaningful it is to me. I don’t always succeed. Thanks for the reminder about not eating and watching t.v. or a movie at the same time – you’re right, you don’t enjoy eating then as much.

  4. Hi Julie: Wonderfully described!

    And thanks for sharing. Life in the moment is the BEST! Cheryl


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