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A new way of working – single-tasking

We spend so much time these days doing eight things at once. At my day job today I had 19 tabs open across three different browsers, 17 programs on my start bar, 9 of which were running, plus two productivity timers. I also have two notebooks (one personal, one business), my mobile, my tablet and my desk phone.

My desk at home isn’t much better…


… though muchly improved by the kitten. They’re usually up here when I’m working, one on the desk and one on the floor. But even here, where I choose what I do, I have multiple notebooks, folders, tabs in my browser, scraps of paper with interesting snippets on them, my mobile which is constantly pinging, letters and postcards to reply to.

You know what it’s like – you barely finish reading one article before shifting to the next. Sometimes you’ll click on a tab halfway through the day and realise you only got halfway through that tutorial on how to procrastinate less before *BOOM*, the Shiny Thing Problem resurfaced and you flew off to look at the next exciting thing.

This is partly to do with personality (creatives and entrepreneurs often find it nearly impossible to switch off bits of their brain and focus on one thing at a time), but is also because this is WAY too much information for one human being to process at once.

Among this mass of technology I often try to eat breakfast, do yesterday’s paper filing and talk to my colleagues about reasonably important things that need doing. I am forever making to-do lists which seem to grow rather than shrink as I achieve the items on them.

Enough is enough, and I want to try an experiement.  I want to try to do one single thing at a time – eat breakfast, have a conversation, read an article, write a post, finish a list of website edits… without hopping from one thing to another. I’d like to extend this to home and social life as well as my various working lives.

To cook without reading, play with the cats without being on the phone, talk to my friends on the phone without folding the washing (and doing the laundry without tripping over the cat?!).

I tend to subscribe to the view that if you’re busy, you’re getting things done. But my pleasantly busy has rapidly become complete overwhelm, where I have time for neither the things that must be done nor the things I want to do.

My friend Morwhenna says that to achieve more, you need to slow right down. I’ve fairly recently become officially properly single, which gives me incredible freedom to do exactly what I want without having to worry about anyone else. This seems like a good time to start the experiment.

I want to pay attention to everything that I do, whether mundane, necessary or exciting. Be in the moment more, be grateful that I am able to do these things, even if I’m not enjoying them much. Be aware of my senses – the movement, noises, smells and sights.

I’ll try it. I’ll let you know how I get on.

What can you do to slow down?

This week I am mostly… (14 February)

Some photos from this last week:


Feeling ~ Loved and lucky! I have been deluged by Valentines this year, all from friends. Some were sweet, some made me snort out loud and I love them even more for it. It’s a good reminder that all love is precious and should be celebrated, not just romantic love 🙂 Two posts from fellow single blogger friends I particularly loved: Bamboozle Beauty: Valentine’s Day and Adventures After Hours: A ‘singles’ guide to surviving Valentines.

Reading ~ having just finished the last book of the Wheel of Time, a book I’ve awaited for a good twelve years, I’m all cried out and emotionally spent and am sticking to non fiction for the foreseeable future. Currently, Bill Bryson’s Made In America. (For WoT fans – it was bloody brilliant and well worth the wait, but a very emotional ride.)

The end of the Wheel of Time | A Memory of Light |

Eating ~ my own bodyweight in Maltesers and Bitsa Wispa. And some very nice cheese from the land of milk and bunny (I am so eay to market to…)

Planning ~ my move, the new house, housewarming parties by the dozen

Dreaming of ~ sunshine and warmth. I am thoroughly fed up with the bitter cold outside!

Coveting ~ a ticket to the Free Range Festival, silk flowers for my new house, some Moo cards for announcing the move, a teal digital radio for my new kitchen and this proper airbed

Wishing ~ moving day would get here faster, and that I was more decisive so I could choose from the photos from our shoot last week!

Working on ~ money strategies and mindfulness, and taking my own advice

Celebrating ~ the last week of being 26 – it’s my birthday next Thursday!

Grateful for ~ people who care about me, worry for me, and a magical Mum who created a presentable flat from a book and craft warehouse in the space of just one evening!

And finally tomorrow I will be ~ heading over to Mimi’s after work to meet with her and lovely Annastasia to work on some secret plans!

On my to-do list this month?
* Get packed
*Aforementioned secret plans
*Turn 27
* Paint my nails
* Reply to emails and letters
* Post various things to various people, some of which are painfully overdue
* Use up as much of my freezer contents as possible
*Decorate a bra with Show Pony at 15 Queen Street

What are you up to this week? What’s on your to do list?