Do not be alarmed by the portentous title – it’s much less a manifesto than an exercise in alliteration.
As mentioned at the end of the last post, resolutions are not really my thing, although I do have some plans for the year ahead. One of those is to relax more, which can only be achieved if I recognise the fact that “relaxing” is not the same as being merely slothful; lazing about does not necessarily equal relaxation. When Daniel noted in a comment on the handwriting post that he was attempting not to multi-task, it really struck a chord. There’s rarely a time when I don’t have the computer on with email open, a few tabs in a browser and Tweetdeck buzzing every few minutes (seconds, sometimes). The TV is often on in the background, even when I’m reading. If I’m actually watching a program, I’ll rarely see it through without having read – and probably responded – to an SMS or online message that comes through. If I’m on the phone, I might be sweeping the floor, wiping down benches, putting washing away.
The monotasking plan is for January, at this stage. While I have time on my hands, it’s a habit rather than a necessity to do more than one thing at a time. So, what does “one thing at a time” mean?
At the moment, I’m writing a blog post. That’s all I’m doing. That’s the only thing open on my desktop. When I’ve finished this, I’m going to check my email. Once I’ve done that, I’m going to log out of it – there’s no need for me to have it open at all times.
This might be antithetical to the idea of Twitter, but I’m going to try not having my notifications enabled in Tweetdeck. This means that I won’t be responding immediately to tweets, or opening up links as soon as they come through, unless I’m actually focussing on catching up it.
I’m going to try only having one tab open when browsing the internet. I’ve fallen into the habit of opening links and then not knowing what relevance the article/web-page/LOLcat has once I finally get to it, or who I should thank for the enlightenment or belly laugh. The same goes for when I’m going through my RSS reader. There’s no need to open five articles at a time – if I want to read one, I’ll read it.
When I’m watching TV, I’m going to turn my computer off1. When I’m not watching TV, I’m turning the TV off2. When I’m on the phone, that’s what I’ll be doing. No sweeping, unpacking the dishwasher, clearing the pantry.
When I’m reading a book, I’ll be reading a book. No other distractions3.
I’m hoping that in doing this I’ll be more focussed on what I’m doing, when I’m doing it. That instead of putzing about all day getting through a Google reader backlog, I’ll read what interests me, discard what doesn’t, and have time to go for a swim, get to the market, read my book and have a crack at some of the DVDs I had set aside for the holidays.
I’m hoping that, come February, I won’t have holiday regret.
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1. Unless I’m blogging the show, of course.
2. That goes for when I’m cooking, too. Unless there’s cricket. Cricket doesn’t count.
3. Except that I’ll probably have some music on.