Let’s just do one thing at a time, shall we?
I gave myself one resolution this year. Just one.
Like all good resolutions, mine was broken by 2nd January. But as the point of a New Year’s resolution is to improve on something you’re not that good at, a failure two days in seemed like a pretty good place to start.
So: why resolve to do one thing at a time?
The short answer is that you know it, I know it, and the small distraction machine in your hand knows it: our concentration spans are on the wane.
A good measure of that is how many other things you’re currently attempting to do at the same time as reading this. (To be fair that’s either my fault or yours, but seeing as you’re here, let’s go with yours.)
Have you opened a new tab yet? Googled how to make soup? Clicked over to Facebook? Checked whether you’ve had any love on your phone? And if you look at all the websites open along your browser, do they function as a handy reminder of all the things you’ve got half way through doing that day?
I mean, let’s not kid ourselves.
Look, it is absolutely a skill to drink a beer while dancing and queuing up the next David Bowie song on Spotify, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
But most of the time, we’re not multitasking. We’re trying to enjoy, do, or worse still, be good at something, but find ourselves getting continually waylaid or distracted. Usually by news feeds, which essentially add nothing to our day. Then, when it comes to writing that thing, reading the book, updating a CV, we tell ourselves we ‘ran out of time’.
Not only do you end up feeling crap because half an hour on Facebook never left anyone feeling remotely satisfied, but then the thing you were trying to do at the same time ends up being a bit half-arsed as well. So here’s an idea: let’s make this the year we stop spending hours scrolling through nothing and then complaining about our busy lives.
Instead, let’s do one thing, and make time for it. Concentrate on it. Enjoy it. Finish what we start. That doesn’t mean banning ourselves from social media, it just means making time for that, too. Twitter’s good. Facebook has its uses. Instagram is nice for a break. But they don’t have to be a constant add-on, running alongside everything else.
Because yes, the excellent thing about being human is the ability to do two things at once. But take it from me on the 2nd January: if you concentrate on one thing when booking cinema tickets, you’re more likely to end up with seats for the right film.