Monotask: Do One Thing At A Time.

There have been millions of articles written about how multitasking doesn’t work. How you end up doing things badly, and there is a significant cost to switching attention between tasks.

This is all true, and doing higher-quality work by doing one thing at a time is one of the big benefits of only doing one thing at a time.

But, in a lot of these discussions, I feel that there is something missing. Life is, quite literally, made up of what you pay attention to. There is a good argument that attention, and not time, is the most scarce resource that we all have. After all, it is difficult to pay attention to our experience at every moment of our lives, and so we will inevitably spend some of our time each day just being on autopilot and not really having a deep experience.

And this is where mono-taking can be extremely helpful because it can act as a type of meditation. I firmly believe that you do not have to meditate by sitting upright against a cushion while in bed, or any other typical position. You can meditate while cleaning plates, while writing, while walking, and even while working.

After all, one of the key instructions during guided meditation is to try and focus on one thing, often the breath. Well, what happens if we change the focus of our attention? What if we turn the spotlight in our mind over to the work that we are doing, and just focus on that one thing for an hour?

I’ve found that this has the same benefits as the more traditional meditation practice, and I also tend to enjoy whatever I am doing far more if I am truly “in” the moment instead of a passenger onboard the experience.

I am the experience.

Related Essays