Following on from my previous article, The Present Moment is All You Ever Have, I would like to talk about the related idea of doing only one thing at a time.

This is something that I have often struggled with, but it does make a big difference. If you are not used to it, it can feel counter-intuitive to the point where it feels like a real struggle. It is definitely worth sticking with though, as the benefits can be great.


Common Things People Often Do at the Same Time:

  • Listening to the radio while preparing dinner.
  • Watching TV while eating dinner.
  • Listening to music while driving.
  • Eating food while working.

Why is it Better to Only Do One Thing at a Time?

Although from a time point of view, multitasking may seem like a good idea, from a psychological or consciousness point of view it is not. When you do multiple things at the same time, your attention is split, divided between several different things. By doing only one thing at a time, you have more attention available for that one thing. This makes it far easier to stay focussed on the present moment. It also gives that moment a more heightened sense of quality and clarity about it.

Why Do People Do Multiple Things at a Time?

Probably because they fear being bored, or they are in the habit of assuming that seemingly trivial activities cannot provide any satisfaction. They also probably know that if their mind is not sufficiently occupied, then it tends to chatter away to itself, thinking all kinds of unhelpful repetitive thoughts.

Television and radio are especially common tactics for people who don’t want to listen to their own mind chattering away to itself. This is because TV and radio replace our thoughts with someone else’s thoughts. We don’t have to think because our mind has latched onto whatever thoughts are being broadcast.

The problem is, listening to the radio or watching TV just for the sake of it can end up being an unsatisfying experience. Sure, your chattering mind is distracted, but there is not much awareness or presence going on.

By focussing on just one thing at a time, you give it your full attention, and you are fully aware, fully in the present moment.

How to Do Just One Thing at a Time

“Wherever you are, be there totally” – Eckhart Tolle

Turn ordinary activities into a form of meditation by focussing on them entirely.

  • If you are eating, just focus on eating the food, and appreciate the taste and texture of the food; savour every mouthful, and chew it thoroughly.
  • If you are driving, fully feel your body in the seat, and enjoy the passing scenery.
  • When brushing your teeth, focus on the experience of brushing your teeth.
  • When listening to music, do nothing else but fully listen to the music.
  • You get the idea…

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