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Where Do You Stand on Mindfulness & Multi-Tasking?


I have several friends who believe in multi-tasking. When I talk to them in the morning, they are busy reading emails, making schedule changes for the day, inhaling coffee and munching pastry, while they consider what they should do for lunch.

They may also be mapping out an afternoon meeting agenda. It makes me tired just to watch them! But it works for them.

I have other friends who believe completely in mindfulness and say multi-tasking is an illusion. The person who thinks they are, simply moves very fast back and forth from task to task. They also question how effective this is, and how much depth is possible. Those friends also spend time in meditation, and like to delve into subjects deeply.

Harvard professor, Ellen Langer, says mindfulness is the idea of focusing attention on the present and not being distracted by the chaos around us. She would say mindfulness is good, multi-tasking, not so good.

When you consider how we all spin through, email, instant messages, internet and cable television, this is probably a good question for parents to consider. How do you keep kids up to speed in the current culture, but still encourage them how to slow down when they need to concentrate and really think deeply.

Watching how your children react to events can help to know when there is overload. Also exposing them to a range of events and activities can help them learn to find comfortable spots. Figuring out what works and what does not can be key to almost everything all of us do. Linking up with someone who has six different things going on all of the time, can be a challenge if we are not in that same spot.

Also signing on to a project where everybody believes in multi-tasking while we are exploring mindfulness can be a challenge. Doing what seems comfortable usually works best.

A friend of mine seems to have this well in hand as she deals with masses of information, and lots of co-workers, but still manages to stay centered and positive, controlling her own attitude and own approach to her work. I catch myself watching her and trying to figure out her secrets. If you sometimes waiver and feel like you are bobbing around too much, or may have become too singular in your approach, you might want to try a mindfulness meditation class, and do some reading about multi-tasking.


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