I confess I’ve been a “multi-tasker,” for years. I was proud of my ability to juggle several projects, and switch what I thought was seamlessly between one task to the other.
In my former business life I ran a successful sales company that represented several different manufactures. I prided myself in the fact that I could keep the sales up in each product line, keep my customers and manufacturers happy, and also run my own investment company on the side.
I was a total “multi-tasking phenomenon,”…or was I just kidding myself and really doing a half a job and only just getting by?
There is a major case building that we multi-taskers are doing just that -just getting by. That “Single-tasking,” and single-focus is the real way to go. Instead of shuttling from one thing to another, to really focus on one thing at a time, get totally engrossed and involved…and then move on.
In my second career in writing, I thought I could take my multi-tasking methods with me…it seems that writing will not withstand more than a singular focus. Anything less, and the writing shows the results.
I came here to Hawaii with several projects. Two books that need editing, another blog that I’m working on that would be a history of all the books that have ever affected my writer’s muse and writer’s voice, and I got here…and it all seemed to stop.
I’m not sure if it’s the great temperature. Everyday a perfect 80 degrees with light trade winds, and clouds that drift by that may threaten rain, but do so only with a few apologetic drops and move on.
Or if it’s those endless waves that roll into the bay, and break across the shore with a sigh of satisfaction. As if they’re happy to be here as well.
And then I realized it must be the Hawaiian people themselves. They seem relaxed, happy, and going about their business without a need to be doing several things at the same time.
I’ve noticed few iPad, iPhones, or other extra electronic devices on the beach, and then as I watched I understood why.
Have you ever watched someone surf? A surfer takes nothing on the board but swim wear and perhaps a t-shirt. Some do carry a knife or wear a watch. But you will see no phone, or any kind of ear bud hanging from their ear. At least I never did.
The surfers I spoke to told me that when a surfer falls into the wave their surfing, that wave still has an immense amount of power and force. Anything loose on a surfer gets lost into the ocean. Sunglasses cellphones, hats…whatever…it’s taken by the force of the wave.
Surfers have one thing – one singular thing, and that’s their surf board. They attach themselves to it with a sturdy line and the line is wrapped around one leg, it’s the only thing they want to hold onto once they’ve been dumped in the water.
Now, that is single tasking. If you’ve watched a surf competition, and it’s hard not to here at this time of year, you’ll see something else that is amazing. A surfer has to sit on their board and patiently wait for the right wave. Not just any wave will carry them in with the force they need to perform their many turns. The wave has to be just right – so they wait out at sea for that wave. All the time the clock is ticking on the event.
I’m not saying that to truly single task, we need to be surfers, I feel, however, that we can learn from them. Is there really any need to be multi tasked and multi connected in this world in order to experience it? I think that’s what I’m getting at.
I was also able to view a great video on YouTube while I was here. It’s from the Kona Brewing Company, and if you hit YouTube and Single Tasking and Kona Brewing company it will come up.
The video of course makes fun of us as they address the Dear Mainland. I really hope you watch it. It has a great message, and the very end of it is “You have one life…don’t blow it!”
I couldn’t think of a better reason for single tasking than that last message.
Happy Single Tasking!