Mash's Musings

Do one thing

Published Apr. 4, 2021

Do one thing at a time. Stop multitasking, it's a lie.

One of the worst habits I had built up was trying to do more at once, thinking that this was the key to productivity. This idea even pervaded into relaxation where listening to music, reading, chatting with friends, watching TV were more often done in concert than alone or even in pairs. And my god what a cacaphony that was. What felt like speeding at 100 mph through the climax of Limitless, was really my brain working on overdrive to complete the most mundane tasks with minimum comprehension. Unfortunately, my psyche finds the intensity of the overstimulation to be far more addictive than the sobering reality of how half-hearted my messages were or the inability to recall which songs had played for the last 30 minutes.

Overcoming that addiction to stimulation is a Herculean task. Like the hydra, two new notifications or recommendations pop up for every one we are able to ignore, leading to that all too familiar fatigue on the other side of a YouTube black hole. And yet, we're all aware of the perfect contentment, even bliss, that comes from concentrated focus. I'd urge my younger self to think about the conversations with friends where the rising sun was the only reminder of how much time had passed. To think about the twilight hours before an exam when stress finally took over and problem sets started melting away. I'd urge him to answer honestly which moments truly resembled happiness and productivity.

While this realization would have been no panacea for distraction, it would have at least served to dispel the myth of multitasking. That it was not just an inability to multitask correctly but a misguided pursuit altogether. And in that dispelling provide at least a moment of clarity on what is really worth pursuing. Do one thing at a time. Stop multitasking, it's a lie.