A few years ago, I joined a teleconference on my Bluetooth and I drove the entire 12 minutes home. When I pulled in to my driveway, I didn’t even remember driving home. This realization shook me, and from that moment on, I decided that I would no longer engage in important phone calls (on my Bluetooth) while driving. I learned that “uni-tasking” is much more effective than “multitasking.”
Think about it, can you really give 100% of your attention to everything at the same time? The answer is no, although much of corporate America prides itself on “multitasking.” I don’t think multitasking is effective or anything to brag about. I think this is how mistakes are made. Human beings are binary — many people (including me) are guilty of multitasking, but actually when we are emailing or texting, at that moment we are not paying attention to the person on the phone, in our office, or whatever else we may be doing. This includes catching up on emails while on a conference call, texting or catching up on emails during in-person meetings, etc.
Unitasking instead of multitasking can be carefully guided by the concepts of mindfulness, a special kind of attention that requires devoting of our conscious attention, to one task at a time. My favorite recreational activity is downhill skiing because to ski fast, and safely, down the mountain, I must be completely focused and present. If I am not paying attention, I run the risk of hurting myself or others. This conscious focus certainly takes discipline; however, organizations who have embraced this concept, like Northeast Delta Dental, have noticed a real change. We all have a lot of work to do; however, instead of giving less of our attention to multiple things, it is far better to give all of our attention to one thing.
Following this mindfulness mantra, I recently co-authored a book with organizational leadership expert, Annabel Beerel, PhD. The book titled, Mindfulness. A Better Me. A Better You. A Better World, will be available on Amazon in the coming weeks.
I challenge all of you to try to be a little bit more mindful this year. Again, mindfulness is a discipline that must be practiced; however, this book will provide readers with a framework and a history of successful mindfulness practices that we hope will be a helpful resource on you mindfulness journey.