How to Unitask (aka be in the moment)
When is the last time you’ve pressed pause on the 4 things you’re juggling … to just focus on one task instead?
Maybe you’re a mom. Ever find yourself rushing home from work to shuttle the kids to soccer practice while calling your husband to have him pack their gear … and you realize you haven’t eaten since 7am?!
Or maybe your in-laws are driving to town. While you’re vacuuming, adorning the guest bed with fresh sheets, and scrubbing the toilet … you realize you haven’t made the dinner reservation for the birthday celebration everyone is coming to town for! And when you pick up the phone, you realize you haven’t called your niece to congratulate her on graduating from college yet either. Eek!
Multitasking is an incredible skill, but ACH … too much can be too much! For good health (and sanity!), learning how to be in the moment and unitask can make you fully present through your journey called life.
Want to master the art of unitasking? Here are 7 simple tricks to become a master …
1. Breathe Easy
Merely observing your inhalations and exhalations is one of the most basic ways to bring your brain back to the here and now. And great news … you can do this anywhere and any time!
Focus on the sensation of breathing. Feel your chest rise, feel it fall. Listen to the sound of air coming in and going out. Even one minute of observing your breath can calm your entire nervous system.
2. Consciously Cleanse
Most people get their day started with a morning shower. This is a great opportunity to make yourself present to the relaxing, uninterrupted time you have each day. Instead of letting your mind run WILD on your to-do list or what you have to pack up before heading out the door, redirect your focus back to your current experience.
3. Eat with Intention
Ever come home from work, catch up with your family, and realize you just ate half a bag of chips?! Where did they all go?
“Eating is one of those activities we tend to do most mindlessly,” says Susan Albers, Psy.D., clinical psychologist and author of Eating Mindfully.
A study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that when you practice mindful eating, you save yourself 300 calories per day! Most likely, being present to consuming food makes you aware of your hunger and fullness levels.
Easy ways to eat mindfully include not eating in front of the TV or while surfing the Internet on your smart phone.
4. Switch Hands
Ever try loading the dishwasher with your non-dominant hand? Give it a shot and experience what it is like to not be on autopilot.
Taking a ho-hum activity, such as opening a door or unloading your dishwasher, can not only make you present but also make you happier! Research shows that a primary factor to happiness is when we challenge our brains.
5. Color Yourself Calm
Have you seen the latest craze of adult coloring books? Get one next time you’re out shopping. “Coloring is an active way of focusing on one thing at a time. As a concentration practice, it is calming,” states Elisha Goldstein, PhD., author of Uncovering Happiness.
6. Be Present with Your Pet
Have a fluffy friend at your feet as you read this article? Stop reading (for a moment) and give Fluffy some cuddle time. This is an instant way to focus on the present moment!
7. Set a Reminder
Many Buddhist monks ring a bell throughout the day as a gentle prompt to bring awareness to the present moment. What is your bell? What is your prompt?
Find something that will prompt a mental shift. Maybe you need your computer or smart phone password to be “relax,” “breathe,” or “happy.” Find something that will bring you to a state of Ahhh …
Here’s to becoming a master unitasker!
This article was inspired by Good Housekeeping June 2016 magazine article, “The Secret to Less Stress?”