In my quest to live more intuitively, I’m making a conscious effort to slow things down. While I’m accustomed to doing multiple things at once like talking on the phone as I’m cleaning the kitchen and finishing up my bills, I’ve read that multitasking keeps us from being present in the moment where our intuition lies. There’s also a lot of scientific research that shows that multitasking increases stress and makes us less efficient because it taxes our brains each time we switch from one thing to another. This article from the New York Times describes some of these studies, including the notion that our brains just aren’t structured to concentrate on multiple things at once.
So for the past week, I’ve been doing one thing at a time. If I’m on the phone I stop everything and talk to the person on the other end. If I’m cooking, I’m 100 percent there. When I’m working, I focus on one project at a time and then switch to the next. The hardest thing has been ignoring email, checking it only once an hour rather than looking every time my computer dings to let me know a new message has arrived.
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The first couple of days, I felt like I was moving in slow motion and was tempted to give it up. But by day three, I realized that I was actually getting more done and, surprisingly, I had more free time than I had when I was multitasking.
Intuitive Action Item: Spend the next couple of days performing one task at a time. It may feel counterintuitive at first, but give it some time and see whether you feel more refreshed and capable to handle the task at hand.