Monday, November 9, 2009


I've mentioned before how much I love the magazine Real Simple and recently was reading an article in one issue called "Unitasking". I laughed "Hahahaha!" and asked "What's that?!"

I know you know what I'm talking about and are probably wondering "But what is it, how do I do it, and seriously... does it even exist?"

Doing one thing at a time. Doing one thing at a time? Hahaha! Right now for instance, I'm blogging in the studio while the phones are ringing off the hook for Nutcracker Market tickets and I have to do weather in 20 seconds. Plus I see a text that Brandi just sent on my phone and I have gchat, facebook, flickr, and drudgereport open on my internet tabs. Does it count that the TV above me is on right now too?

What scares me most are the things I'm able to do while driving. Once I caught myself driving a stickshift, eating a bowl of spaghetti, talking on the phone and writing down directions. At the same time. I wonder if you could top that? If you can, let's meet later and pray over one another.

The premise of the magazine article was that for one month the author was going to unitask. A lot of what he wrote resonated within me because it's peace of mind I long for... and on my way to attaining that peace of mind I usually make 30 stops and am doing 50 more things along the way.

Examples he used that struck me had to do with focusing on conversation and human interaction. One night he was building legos with his son and had to FIGHT the urge to check his Blackberry "just really quick" and stay on target. Legos. Must. Be. Built. The voices and urge within him got so bad he had to claim outloud "I am playing Legos with my son. I am playing Legos with my son." His 5-year-old was totally weirded out by this but they got that castle built no less.

And I'll admit something terrible to you, now that I'm putting all my bad habits out in the open. (What? The spaghetti was calling out to me from my bag!!) Sometimes I remember things people said throughout my day... but way later in the day... and I wonder if I acknowledged them, made eye contact and really took the time to register whatever it was they said to me. Ewww, I hate that about myself.

Lately, I've noticed DK and I can actually hang out for several hours in a row, going non-stop, getting things done and until I stop and look him in the eyes, pause and say "Hiiiii" do I feel like I've truly registered his presence and ackowledged the fact he's one of the most important people in my life. But I'm always doing 30 other things!

So this last weekend I practiced. I stopped what I was doing A LOT. It was HARD. I held his face in my hands a few times and while making eye contact said "You are really brilliant. I think you are amazing". I even held off texting people back if he was talking to me, when a lot of times I'd just do it simultaneously. And in my personal time, I read my book. I didn't read my book with my phone next to me while playing fetch with Orson and watching TV. I read my book.

I think this may be the remedy for a few things. When people say "Wow, I blinked my eyes and now my kid is graduating high school" or in marriage counseling "I don't know what happened, we just grew apart over time, I guess..." or "I'm so stressed, I have WAY too much going on, I think I'll faint!!"

Maybe the answer is to induce unitasking into our society so ridden with mega ultra uber multi-tasking... and change your norm, change your focus.

Just don't blink your eyes while doing so :)


Jennifer said...

Unitasking...I like that word. After many fatalities on the road I drive down daily, I made a pact with myself to ignore my texts while driving. It drives my husband nuts to just hear my phone keep going off, but I don't pick it up. My new thing is "I love you"...I realized in the daily busyness of life it is easy to forget to say those words. I make sure I say "I love you" to my kids every time they leave. This morning was difficult and I didn't get it out as the kids ran to the bus. I needed to go to the kids bookfair this week and decided today would be the day, just so I could tell them. I know they know I love them, but the change in their facial expressions and total attitude is amazing.

Dad K said...

Were you reading "Real Simple" while driving. I love the concept of unitasking especially when talking to others. I'll see where when I'm talking to someone and my phone rings, they'll say "Aren't you going to get that". It is s sociatal issue. (is that a real word?)

Mitzi and Jerry said...

Thanks for posting about this topic. It really spoke to me. We have not met, but I think we attend the same church. However, my husband and I have been away in S Asia for the last two years. I think I came across your blog through a blog of mutual friends. Anyway, thanks again for sharing!