Mindful Monday no. 29: Single-Tasking the To-Do List

Sometimes when we are overwhelmed with our responsibilities, our ability to get things done becomes compromised. We think of our long to-do lists and become stressed. As we try to multi-task, we exacerbate the situation because we don’t feel a sense of completion and connection with what we are doing. Instead, everything we have to do is rushed, incomplete, or avoided.

According to the authors of “The Mindful Way through Anxiety” (find out more about this title in this post):

“Multitasking on a regular basis, particularly in an automatic, habitual way, increases stress and decreases productivity. There is a limited amount of information we can pay attention to and remember, particularly when we are overloaded with stimuli.”


Single-tasking, on the other hand, has many benefits. For one, we enter into a state of mindfulness as we focus on the requirements of the job at hand. If you are washing the mound of dishes, you are focusing on the feeling of the hot water, feeling satisfied by scrubbing your pots clean, and taking your time to do the job well.


How to practice single-tasking:

1.As yourself, what is the priority today? Pick only one item on your to-do list.

2. Focus on the job mindfully. Allow yourself the time to concentrate on all aspects of the job. That means if you are preparing dinner, you only think about chopping the green beans or whatever else you may be doing in the moment.

3. Show yourself compassion when your mind wanders: When your mind drifts to the other things you have to do or other situations that are bothering you, be gentle with yourself and bring your attention back to the task.

4. Take pleasure in the job: The goal is to get past doing the job just to get it done, to actually enjoying the tasks. Mindfulness allows you a deeper connection to even the most mundane aspects of life.

5. Cross it off your list: Take a minute to feel the sense of completion you get when you are finished the task.

How did this work for you? Let us know in the comment section.



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