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The Joy in Doing One Thing at a Time

 February 20, 2019

Something strange has happened over the last few weeks. Perhaps it was the winter cold and snow, turning my blood into slow-flowing molasses in my veins. (Think of it as playing a 78rpm record at 33rpms for those of you old enough to remember what this is.) Perhaps it just because I’m growing older. Or maybe I should blame it on Belize. Who can return to a normal work week after a week of relaxing in the sun? Whatever the reason, I found myself only doing two or three tasks in a day, one at a time, instead of doing eight to twelve. I moved slower, felt more peaceful, and when the inevitable problems arose, I was less angry. I had found the joy in doing one thing at a time.


Now, like many women, I’m a multi-tasker. Why do one thing at a time when you can do two or three or more. It’s so much more efficient. One of the benefits of now having an electric toothbrush is that I can walk around the house, picking up clutter, cleaning dog hair off the floor and preparing for bed all while brushing my teeth. It’s a modern miracle! Not only do I brush longer because my toothbrush is set to run for two minutes, my teeth are cleaner and so is my house!

Multi-tasking is great, until it isn’t. I get a rush from getting so much done at one time, until I make a mistake and have to correct it, sometimes losing all the time I had saved. Also, a day of rushing around and accomplishing record feats of productivity is often followed by two days of blah. Sometimes it seems I can only get so much done over a given time period so I can spread it out over several days and take it easy, or smash three days of work into one day then pay for it by being tired and less productive for two days. Sigh.

One Thing at a Time

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying this novel experience. I drive places thinking about the one item I am about to check off my to do list rather than the multiple items that remain. I quiet my racing brain with reminders, one thing at a time! It’s hard to quiet your mind to only one thought in the midst of so many thoughts competing for our attention at any given time and yet that is what I am trying to do.

How long it will last, I don’t know. It’s a mentality I’ve yet to embrace, but I’m working on it. After all, I’ve got over 50 years of experience to overcome.

I wrote in my January newsletter that my focus for this year was on joy. I’m learning to take joy in doing one thing at a time. And so, I choose joy, whatever that may mean.

What is your experience of multi-tasking? Does it work for you or is it a source of stress? How are you being invited to chose joy today?


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3 responses to “The Joy in Doing One Thing at a Time”

  1. Patricia, I’m quickly approaching my 60th year and the desire to multitask has greatly diminished. I’m sure it has to do with my slower, retired pace and my lower energy level, but like you I am finding joy in giving one thing at a time my attention. Great post! Your #fmf FB neighbor, Cindy

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