One Thing at a Time


There's no such thing as multi-tasking.

Can you imagine all the waves in the ocean trying to reach shore at the same time? Can you imagine the universal mind having to even consider priorities? I didn't think so. Ah... the human mind!

Here I sit in my studio with too many tasks pending, the floor strewn with detritus from my desk top and clearance from shelves awaiting sorting and filing and re-situating. What to do, where to start?

Start with one thing at a time. It's the only way.
"Two things cannot happen at once; it is impossible. It is easy to imagine that two things are happening at once, because our journey back and forth between the two may be very speedy. But even then we are doing only one thing at a time. 
The idea of mindfulness is to slow down the fickleness of jumping back and forth. We have to realize that we are not extraordinary mental acrobats. We are not all that well trained. And even an extraordinarily well-trained mind could not manage that many things at once--not even two. But because things are very simple and direct, we can focus on, be aware and mindful of, one thing at a time. That one-pointedness, that bare attention, seems to be the basic point." — Chogyam Trungpa, from "The Four Foundations of Mindfulness Meditation"
I am writing this post to remind myself of what wisdom I must follow when I find myself teetering on overwhelm. Breathe. That's a good beginning. Decide on priorities.

My obvious priority is to clean up my mess. I can't stand to be surrounded by disorder of my own making. It makes me stupid. So I'm setting my egg timer and taking action.

Read why multi-tasking makes you stupid.

No matter how important other things on my list may seem, the fact is I can only tackle one thing at a time. If I don't take that approach, experience tells me that I'll flit back and forth, not do anything well, become fatigued, frustrated and probably create more of a mess.
“A weakness of all human beings is trying to do too many things at once.” —Henry Ford
I don't have to make a list today to know what's at the top of it. Cleaning up my studio might take all day. If so, so be it. Though I'm writing this post, I'm keeping it short and sweet so that I can surrender to my one thing.

What's your one thing right now?

Read other posts in my ongoing series — Life is the First Art.
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6 comments:

RHCarpenter said...

Good for you! Don't let overwhelm or underwhelm catch you up :)

Suzanne McDermott said...

Underwhelm is rarely an issue for me!

caseytoussaint said...

A very inspiring post - I'm glad not to be the only one out there who is 'monotache'!
I'm looking forward to finally working on the spirit of the gulf challenge next week when the last of my visitors has departed.

Pat said...

I am just stealing some time to do what I have wanted to do for a few weeks. That is just sitting in front of my computer to visit some blogs of friends. Yours was at the top of my list. Your posts are always easy to read, informative and of course the added bonus of being a well rounded artist helps.
Hugs
Pat

Suzanne McDermott said...

Glad to inspire, Casey... Hope you're enjoying your guests and don't fret about the Spirit of the Gulf thing. Do it if the spirit moves you and when you have time.

Suzanne McDermott said...

Hi Pat. Thanks for the positive feedback on my writing. As I find myself writing A LOT, it's good to hear that it's easy to read. Okay, must go. I'm being overtaken by the largest cat in the household.