September 7th, 2010
One thing

I have just returned from a short trip to San francisco, something I can easily do now being on the west coast.  It was my first solo trip since my son was born, and the first day I was prone to many teary moments.  In the end it was so amazingly good for me to do, and i return feeling recharged.  I had a bit of an epiphany while traveling that I thought I might share with you.  The simplicity of this will surprise you, but the results of my experiment with it were quite profound. After completing the following exercise for many hours I felt calm, relaxed and totally in the moment.  So here it is:

Do one thing at a time.

That’s it.

I realize how much of our day is spent multitasking, checking email, doing dishes, talking on the phone, racing from place to place, doing chores, etc.  All at once. But when you make the conscious decision to just do one thing at a time it causes you to pay more attention and be more present in you body and in the world.  The experiment was not without it’s challenges.  I found myself wanting to read while I ate and check email.  Though I really enjoyed consciously crunching my ice while drinking some juice on the plane (I am an avid ice cube cruncher).

I know this will be hard to achieve when i am back into my regular routing, and having a toddler makes it necessary to multitask if you want to get anything done.  But I am going to continue the experiment and try to work at it throughout the day.  I think it is worth it for the sense of calm that it creates.  

Sep 8 2010
2:58 am
katie writes:

im going to try this as i sit here reading this blog eating an apple,drawing and watching a film.I think this is a wise approach to life.

Sep 8 2010
2:26 pm
crissy writes:

Was eating soup when i started reading your post. Promptly closed my laptop and just ate my soup. ^_^ Thanks for the reminder! DO ONE THING AT A TIME! Yes.

Sep 8 2010
5:59 pm
Rachel writes:

As a junior in the crazy, hectic, stress-filled monster known as high school, this is a very new idea to me. One thing at a time…how is this possible? This should not feel so profound, but, unfortunately, it does.
Thank you for the intriguing idea.

Sep 9 2010
11:08 am
ReNee writes:

The reality is, we can only DO one thing at a time. It is not possible to do more. What IS possible is to be thinking about doing more than one thing at a time. We worry about all the things we need to do or think of what we’ve just done instead of enjoying right where we are! Be with your blog post, be with your book, be with your ice… it’s all you CAN do.

Sep 9 2010
12:09 pm
Kate writes:

Ah….. one glorious, precious, delicious thing at a time. Game on!

Sep 9 2010
12:25 pm
Cassy writes:

As a working mother of a busy toddler, I understand the desire to be able to slow down and do one thing, though I find it next to impossible. Maybe I’ll shoot for doing just one thing once a day. And for getting away like you did once a month or so. It’s amazing how rejuvenating even 24 hours of solo time can be.

Sep 9 2010
9:09 pm
Ceparie writes:

How simple, how true. Paying more attention and being more present. While technologies and conveniences of today have made life better in some ways, they really distract us from what’s really important and is the best and at the core of all of us–our spiritual and creative selves.

Sep 10 2010
3:59 am
Chris writes:

I tried this yesterday and still ended up at one point having two conversations at the same time while answering an email while on hold on the phone! That’s not even including the Word docs and spreadsheets I had open. Must try again today. Must try harder. D-

Sep 10 2010
12:33 pm
genevieve williamson writes:

Its a crushing to start reading this post while eating lunch but I thank you for the reminder. I read, THEN ate, NOW am commenting. I will join your experiement.

Why is it that since we have the option, these days, of doing so many things at once that we think its a good idea to do so many things at once? Do you think its greed that makes us multi-task? Do we think we can accumulate more time like we accumulate things?

Sep 10 2010
10:17 pm
Kimberly writes:

Yes, yes, yes! I, too, have been making this my practice. I really try to be completely present for my kiddos when I am spending time with them, and I approach my work with the same respect when it is time to sit down and get busy. We can’t escape multitasking altogether, but a more concious awareness of what we are doing in the present moment, and our intentions for that moment, really makes the difference between a feeling of peace and a feeling of being randomly struck with a cow prod.

Sep 12 2010
6:57 pm
Carrie Marie writes:

Ice crunchers unite! I love to crunch ice. : ) (Yep, that’s the part that stuck out for me. LOL)

Sep 13 2010
2:10 pm
Monnah writes:

I love crunching ice. Love it. It drives my family crazy. The next freezer I get will have an ice machine so I can get my ice partly crunched before I put it in my mouth… :) Otherwise I love your advice on doing one thing at a time!

Nov 11 2010
8:22 am
Caroline Hodge writes:

Hi. I used to crunch lots of ice cubes (drove my husband crazy !)…..found out that I had an iron deficiency called Pica. As soon as I started taking iron pills, my craving for ice cubes vanished !….and I too discovered that doing one thing at a time is amazing….. I just have to remind myself of that a lot.

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