Single- or Multi-Tasking?

I’ve noticed that my attention span seems to be decreasing.  Even when I’m reading a book, I can’t help but keep my phone nearby “just in case” I get an important text message, e-mail, etc.  Let’s be real – I don’t have anything that urgent I need to check on where I can’t set aside a solid half hour or more to immerse myself in a book.  However, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve really lost focus lately – even with a good book!  :-/

I’m not going to point my finger at technology, as I am definitely a user and consumer of technology and love many of its efficiencies and benefits.  However, if I take a step back, I wonder whether I always need to be “connected” and whether I am really more efficient when I am multi-tasking and checking e-mail, listening to a podcast, and bouncing back and forth with text messages at the same time.  Probably not…  It got me thinking about single-taking versus multi-tasking.  It seems like there quite a few thoughts and articles on this topic as of late, and I keep hearing the benefits of taking time to single-task, which creates more mindfulness and awareness.

In a society where we are “on” 24×7, I think it really becomes challenging and more of an effort to single-task and focus on one thing.  Given my recent lack of focus, I am going to challenge myself to single-tasking and try to be more present and “in the moment” which each thing I do, whether it be the mundane like folding laundry to the more important things like a chat over coffee with a friend, or when escaping in a good book.  Anyone else out there encountering similar challenges?

Tech Fast

I have previously confessed to having a love/hate relationship with technology.  I was recently lamenting to a friend about how poor my penmanship is, which lead to a conversation about how much we rely on computers and other technology to communicate.  It got me thinking – what did we used to do before e-mail??  I remember writing hand-written (long!) letters to friends when I was in school, which seems so long ago. I love the advantages that technology provides for writing – who doesn’t love being able to make quick edits and spell check?  As as result of sitting in from a computer for so many hours between work and at home, I have noticed that I now find it easier to sit and write staring at a blank Word document, similar to what would have been holding my trusty pen and staring at a blank sheet of paper in the past.  I find that I capture different thoughts quickly with my fingers flying across the keyboard, which I love.  At the same time, it makes me a little sad to look at all of the blank books and journals I have sitting on my shelf, which I use, but not nearly as much as I used to.  I also notice that when I write for longer periods of time, I get some hand cramps and my so-so penmanship starts to look like scribbles since my hand is no longer used to writing with a pen or pencil anymore. Sigh.

As someone who benefits from–and is a high user of–the different technology that is now available, I think I need to embrace all that is available.  However, I don’t want to forget my past.  I still have some old journals that are filled with poetry, ideas and clippings.  In honor of this, I am going to find one day this month where I am going to go on a “tech fast”.  With the exception of work, I am going to attempt to enjoy the simple things in life, like dusting off one of my beautiful journals and embracing my poor penmanship.

Anyone else who feels a little overwhelmed at times with all of the technology and/or misses the “old days” of pens and paper?