mono tasking

click the pictures to enlarge …

I’m unable to put my energy into two projects at the same time.
It used to be like that in school and college too.

If there a two projects on the agenda that both require
like 10 working days of focus inside one month,
both projects will suffer.

Having that next project scheduled,
seems to take away some,
even a lot of concentration from the first.

Flowers don’t seem to have this problem.


Pictures by bvdb (whoisbert) august 2014 – @home – Canon Ixus HS230 – IMG_7829/30/31

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26 thoughts on “mono tasking

  1. I always liked the image in Anne Lamott’s writing on writing book, “Bird by Bird,” in which she illustrates her brother’s task for an all-summer project being condensed into one single night from procrastination. He had to illustrate and write about 100 bird species, or something like that. After much worry and fluster, his dad said, “What can you do but just go bird by bird, until you are done.” I have much on my plate often, but I am learning to tackle just one thing at a time, and give space for nothing, even if tasks are waiting for me. When i follow my natural rhythms, I am much for efficient once I get to it. So love your words and illustrative seeing of beauty that surrounds you!

    • … yes, one thing at a time … but brainwashed as a child: “do one and two and three” without ever been told how to do that. How can you study for 5 exams in one week? My answer: ‘it is impossible’; How can you leave something only half completed …
      But when we travel, we don’t look at all cities we have to pass to get to our destination. We go from one hop to the next, and so on …

  2. At different times in my life I’ve been challenged (required) to ‘multi-task’. ..or what I thought was ‘multi-taskng’. As a mother of young children, as a working mother, different fast paced occupations ….the challenge was always how to be ‘present’ in each flick of a moment while seemingly moving at the speed of light. Fortunately in these situations there wasn’t much of an opportunity to ‘think ahead’. It was more like ‘follow the dots’ while still breathing. I enjoyed this energetic way of living because it also required this kind of commitment.

    About nine years ago it became clear that I was still organizing my life this way even though it wasn’t necessary. Now I was actually trying to do two (three, four) things at once rather than giving each moment its due while moving quickly. … I had become habituated to a rhythm. My attention was frazzled, fragmented, frustrated. So I made the decision to stop what I now knew was ‘multi-tasking’. It didn’t take long to lose the internal rhythm…there just wasn’t any need for it.

    I’m so grateful you posted this Bert…it’s made me see things I hadn’t considered before that I’ve needed to understand. While life was speeding along, I spent every moment possible immersed in my gardens, I built many …my places of delight and refuge. But I didn’t have the concentration for other skills I longed to acquire…like drawing. I’ve had gardens my whole adult life….up until a few years ago. Now I have a few well loved pots….and I’ve been mourning the loss of the wild intimacy with my ‘friends’ of the garden…also why I enjoy your photos!

    But … I have now acquired the concentration to learn how to draw and am exploring the internal rhythms this is presenting. I hadn’t really put it together till reading your post…especially the last line! Seamless…!
    Jana xxoo

    • thank you for your most interesting comment …

      to me it becomes very difficult when new material presents itself on several fronts at the same time … i’ve never been able to manage multitasking … there are waves and one has to ride them I suppose …

      … gardening, the hard work, digging and pruning with a chainsaw, that physical work that makes you happy while doing it … the garden is relatively wild .. more of an orchard, full of surprises posted on a regular basis …

      yes, … multitasking in the end means not doing anything well … finishing before the final touch … and the focus to do those details is most often very rewarding …

  3. I understand that problem and, to a degree, I think I share it with you. If something else comes up when I am working on a project, I find myself thinking about that next project, often at some expense of the one I am working on. Perhaps, that is normal?

  4. All nature, which does not include the “human mind”, lives in the now and only deals with the now . . . . and it does not get stressed (except as a result of what mankind does to it!).

  5. well, … here also I differ, I don’t mind a todo list, if it only contains one deadline — and then all the other items seem not to exist (sometimes for a long time … like painting the front-door … 3 years on the list)

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