thinking ahead (the task(s) at hand)

Getting ready for the day this morning I was thinking about writing a blog post thanks to the SMS message that was sent to my phone overnight. (see last week’s Resolutions post)

I started being mindful of my actions as I put together meals for breakfast and lunch for the family, and got my wife out the door and my son ready for school.

bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis (Marlatt & Kristeller, 1999, p. 68)

As I noticed the actions that went into my preparations I looked for ways to increase the efficiency of my actions. I started planning my next movements a step ahead. Making sure that when I brought toast and water up for my wife, that I stopped in and started the wakeup process for my child, and brought down some cups that needed to be washed.

I recalled the adage from my son a month earlier

To his Mom as we walked upstairs: “Why are Dad’s hands empty?”

He was asking why I was wasting my trip upstairs by not bringing with me something (anything)that needed to come up. My wife now teasingly uses this example to remind me to not “waste a trip”

Always keep in mind the “next step” as in, what can you do in addition to what you are doing, or what action can set in place a step in the right direction for another action in the near future.

In the July 2009 issue of Neuron Researchers started with the statement

Although we all have a propensity to undertake more than one task at a time in our day-to-day lives, our ability to perform these tasks rapidly and accurately is severely compromised when we attempt to carry them out simultaneously

They went on to explain how we can train our brains to more effectively process information at the same time. I believe that calmly considering the options at hand in a mindful manner, and allowing yourself to refer to the complete set of needs to accomplish ‘morning’ without the distraction of unrelated ideas (tasks at work, needs for nighttime, which stroller should we buy for the twins due in May) will ultimately result in success.

Of course I had the benefit of working at a v.busy coffee shop as a barista for several years which could have also been named “multitask academy”

right here, right now

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