One Small Change to Add Stillness to Your Day

The other day, I was on my computer and I needed to restart it. The restart (as we all know) was going to take about 30 seconds, but out of instinct I grabbed my phone to pass the time. Five minutes later, I realized my computer had finished turning on moments before, yet here I was aimlessly scrolling on my phone – with my brain jumping from task to task.

Later that day, I was unloading the dishwasher and stopped to turn my phone to a podcast. Again, by the time I chose a podcast and got it going, I could have finished unloading and went on with my day. Instead, I took a couple minutes to start a podcast, finished the dishes, and then had to stop my podcast 3 minutes into it because I was done. A total waste of time and energy! Yet I felt so uncomfortable in that single-tasking mode that I needed to do multiple things at once.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I did this ALL. THE. TIME. I simply sucked at single-tasking or waiting. Any free moment or any “pause” I was given, I felt the need to fill it with something. Which is exhausting when you think about alllll the extra tasks that adds to your day or how many times it forces your brain to switch from task to task.

Maybe you’re better at this than I am, but I’m using this as a reminder to allow moments of stillness in my life. Or moments of quiet and doing less. And I’m bringing myself back to this single-tasking article that seems so necessary for me at this point.

Anyone else find themselves filling their moments to the brim? How do you slow it down? Plz share!

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  1. I absolutely do this! Whenever I am tidying up, hanging up my freshly washed clothes, cooking, eating, doing my hair, filing away my post – I ALWAYS put something on to listen to or to “watch” in the background. Sometimes that makes sense – ironing your clothes for example is a thousand times less tedious if you are watching a tv show doing it – but sometimes it’s complete nonsense, like you said, if you have to stop a few minutes in because you finished your task that you could have finished faster and more efficient to begin with. I think single-tasking is a great concept, especially paired with a certain time limit, for example setting yourself a timer for ten minutes to clean up around your apartment – and cleaning up ONLY. That honestly saves sooo much time and is so efficient!
    Wow, I wrote a novel here, I guess you hit a sensitive spot with me here haha! Have a good day!
    xx Janine

  2. Totally agree! I’ve been noticing this more and more lately (sometimes I unlock my phone only to immediately relock it!), but one of my goals for this year is prioritizing mindfulness. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. I always always go through my day and pause to check in with myself.I personally need time to do nothing and halt.Being busy all of the time keeps me running away from my self which I do not want to do .In meditation we did reflective listening that also taught me to tune in and be Here right now

  4. I relate to this a lot! I would put on music while brushing my teeth at the end of the night, or listen to a podcast while cooking/preparing food – even when doing these things got in the way like earphones dangling uncomfortably while I cook, and phone slipping from its perch on the sink counter and that’s not even yet talking about how I switch from one song/podcast to another in search of the one with the perfect length or one that perfectly fit the mood. Single-tasking feels empty when it’s these mundane yet necessary life things. The need to be constantly stimulated and constantly be productive can be so overpowering that it actually borders ridiculous haha!

    With love, Iween |

  5. I catch myself doing this all the time – but I figure, catching it happening is at least a good first step to mindfulness, haha.

    I’ve done a daily 5 minute meditation practice on Headspace for the past ten days or so, and it’s been great to take some time (even a short amount) to focus on nothing but mindfulness.


  6. The book Crazy Busy (Edward M Hallowell, MD) does a great job breaking down the science behind “single” vs “multi” tasking. It describes how our brains, since the beginning of mankind, have been “wired for” single-tasking. Great book, quick read. It’s a few years old, so some of the actual tech references (i.e. , “Blackberry” vs iPhone!) are outdated, but the concepts remain relevant. Worth a read!

  7. I feel like everything I do involves my using my phone. I’m learning to be still, do things in silence. Crazy what pops in my head during those times.

  8. I do this too. The culture of always having to be productive and produce more, accomplish more which initially came from work has seeped into every aspect of life. I have been trying to get myself to single-task a little more recently. I need to become more aware of what I’m doing more as you have done.

  9. It’s hard to avoid today with our phones having become another thing that demands our attention and takes up time rather than making life easier as they are supposed to.
    Started meditating with 1 Giant Mind app recently and somehow it’s been so much easier to enjoy doing whatever I’m doing quietly without constant external input. It just gives you designated time to allow yourself to do nothing. Definitely worth a try.

  10. It’s like the brain wants to be entertained, but left on auto-pilot at the same time. IDK… It’s a feeling that I define it as BOARD haha.

    I think it’s the worse when I want the TV on, but I don’t want to actually watch it, so I put either reruns of a show I like (eg. Law&Order_SVU) just so it’s playing in the background.

  11. I would recommend taking the time for breathing at those moments you feel like you need to fill. The simple task of just breathing can both mentally and physically satisfy you! I encourage you to try it even if its for a minute!

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