Multitasking- no it’s not one of the 8 limbs of yoga!
I am by nature a “doer”. I love to move, check off the “to do” list, get things done and generally move about my day in a “see what I can accomplish” kind of spirit. When I had kids this only fueled those tendencies in me because there are always a million things to do. Between helping my daughters, maintaining a home, teaching yoga, practicing yoga, being a partner etc the day is never done.
There certainly is in our culture a lot of emphasis on accomplishment, staying busy and developing the skill of multitasking. I honestly used to pride myself on the ability to have 18 balls up in the air and juggle them all at once. But is that really a skill we want to develop?? If you think about it- multitasking is literally “doing multiple tasks at once”.
The longer I practice yoga, meditation and the application of Ayurveda the more I know how unhelpful multitasking is. Why would we want to try to do so many things at once? To get as much as possible accomplished of course. But when we have too many things going at once our minds become scrambled because our energy is being dispersed in too many directions. The irony is by focusing on one thing at a time and giving it our full attention and energy we become way more effective and efficient.
Haven’t you noticed that when you are totally focused on something two things occur:
Everything else fades out and you are completely present with the task at hand
Time seems to slow down
Creating a focused mind is called Dharana in the yoga texts- and it is one of the 8 limbs. It potentially leads us to a meditative mind state which is called Dhyana.
So one very powerful and effective way of bringing our yoga practices into every day experiences is to train the mind to focus on one task at a time. NO MORE MULTITASKING!! When you are writing an email, just write the email. Let me rephrase that “Nikki just write the email- don’t try to write the email, run the dishwasher, make a quick call and pick up the kids puzzles off the floor all at the same time”. Yes that’s my old M.O. but it’s honestly way less effective.
I now regularly catch myself when I move towards the multitasking method because it just feels wrong. I stop and realize I am going into that mode and notice how unsatisfying it is, even anxiety producing. Then I remind myself “one thing at a time”. webhosting info . The results are I get more done, I am calm and I enjoy what I am doing rather than resisting it.
Try this especially if you have a busy day ahead:
1. Look at your schedule for the day and make choices that facilitate ease
2. Make a list of the most important things you need to get done and put the least essential tasks at the bottom
3. Schedule in at least 15 minutes of yoga or meditation so that your mind and body can soak up the benefits of silence.
4. Do only one task at a time and give it your full attention. Stay relaxed in the process!!
You will notice that you get more accomplished and cultivate more present moment awareness that leaves you less stressed. This means you are “doing yoga” all day long, not just when you are on your mat!!! Whoever coined the phrase “less is more” must have been a yogi…..