Thursday, April 22, 2010

Single-Tasking (or trying to)

So, don't we all (we who teach, that is) tell our students not to try to multi-task? Don't we tell them that this is the reason that we don't want them checking their Facebook pages or texting in class – because they think they can multitask, but they really can't? They just end up doing a crappy job at two things at once? And isn't multitasking, in a way, disrespectful to whatever it is you're trying to do, whether it's participating in class, or listening to a friend talk, or working on a paper?

Yeah. Well, It Has Come to My Attention that I suck at practicing what I preach. My brain is always zipping off in several directions at once, and few of those directions are conducive to productivity or even happiness. And I've noticed that I'm not really inhabiting my own life.

So, inspired by two friends (one of them the fabulous Dr. S., who comments here occasionally), I've started meditating in the mornings. I'm still not very good at it, or even very consistent. But I'm working on it. That whole "being in the moment" thing.

More importantly, as of this morning, I am taking a break (of as-yet-undetermined duration) from a Certain Social Networking Website. More than sucking up my time, it also appears to have substituted for real communication: I've found myself narrating my life rather than living it, and making oh-so-clever pronouncements and witty rejoinders rather than having actual conversations where I talk and listen.

I'll still be blogging, and reading other people's blogs, because I enjoy the long format and the possibilities for real conversation. And I'll still be posting my photos on another website. But other than that, it's time to shift the focus a bit.

And today, after the archive, I walked into a grove of fruit-bearing trees in an unlikely place, and they were in bloom, and I had never smelled anything like that in my life, and I was fully, unequivocally there.

Here's a picture of life on the slow track:


Joe said...

Thank you for this. It is nice to know that I am not alone in my brain running off in multiple directions. I too have wondered whether certain social networking sites have brought about a larger amount of chaos to an otherwise usually ordered thought-process.

Thanks again and good luck with the fruit trees and cappuccinos :)

squadratomagico said...

Nice! Welcome to your life!

Historiann said...

Don't you think the pigging out on social networking is directly related to the fact that you're living in another country and can't get together for coffees with your friends? Still, a break sounds like a good idea, and in the Northern hemisphere it's a nice time to live in the meat world in most locations.

(For this reason, I'm glad that my computer screen is very hard to read in direct sunlight. If it weren't, I'd have it strapped to me everywhere. This is why I won't be getting an i-Pad, of course.)

Coyote Rose said...

While i concur that most students nowadays cannot multitask properly. I think there is something to be said for multitasking in academia. I mean between papers you're writing, classes you're teaching, meeting you have to be at and your personal life, aren't you kind of always multitasking?

I mean my proffies will be in the middle of teaching and stop mid-sentence turn and write down the title of a book they need to look in for some article they are writing. Its sort of a similar thing.

Or, i'm just totally wrong...

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Facebook is a fucking disaster area. I wouldn't touch that fake-ass "friend" garbage with a ten-foot motherfucking pole. That shit kills real life.

Dr. S said...

HOORAY! I'm so glad to hear this. I will say that I detached from Twitter only about a week after my retreat in March, and I haven't looked back since. I've never gotten on the other Certain Social Networking site because I can't cope with the extra layers of not-being-able-to-keep-up that it would introduce to my life.

When you visit, we can sit together!

Also, @comradphysioprof, that's the funniest comment I've read in a long, long time. Nice one.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

You guys crack me up. And the nice thing about people I meet on blogs is that they're new people, and ones who I eventually get to meet in real life. And when I have met people, they turn out to be wonderful additions to my real life.