I'll be documenting my five days here, and then incorporating it into the longer post next month. (Which will be including an interview with one of the lawyers who worked on the case that led to this week's net neutrality ruling. Exciting!)
So, the first challenge is "single-tasking."
I sincerely tried.
*glances guiltily at the episode of Wynonna Earp playing as I type this*
And it was difficult.
It was, as a matter of fact, really super fucking frustrating and annoying and so much harder than I anticipated - mostly because I was so annoyed at myself. It should not have been so difficult! It should have been, you know, a little challenging to overcome the habit, but it shouldn't have been so amazingly difficult. The number of times I found myself standing in the kitchen, slightly panicked at the thought of starting a task which I would then have to focus on to completion or "fail" through interruption... I wasted a lot of time today. A lot of time. That's less about the challenge itself and more about my own issues around fear of failure.
Totally aside from the fear of failure, it is also just easy to slip into comfortable habits. Checking email and facebook and texts every few minutes (really, every minute or so, which is just ridiculous!) I found myself flipping between tabs too often, and need to get better at actually closing tabs and turning off push notifications.
There were other challenges, too.
The first part of the day was difficult because of the kids.
Working at home, while looking after kids, is hard. My stepkids are 3 and 5, and even when their dad is on top of it, they suck up a huge amount of attention.
So, the first part of the day was kid-interruptions constantly.
Then I got some time to work after they went to their mom's, and experienced exactly the phenomenon mentioned in the podcast, of self-interruption happening at increased rates after a period of being interrupted frequently. That's when I got really frustrated with myself.
I had a few stretches of real focus, and they felt good. I'd like to have more of that.
I also went out for a birthday dinner tonight with one of my partners (he's a patron, too, and his birthday month post on self-care and the fear of aging will be going up tomorrow or Wednesday!). I will admit that focusing on single-tasking over dinner was actually really nice. Usually I am one of those people checking my phone every few minutes. It's a habit.
But... it's not just or always a habit.
It's also something I use to moderate my anxiety in social situations. There's some ableism in the idea that single-tasking is always the best approach, and is the only best approach. Not only anxiety, but also neurodivergences like ADD and ADHD can add complexity to the issue.
Then I got home, wrote an article for my freelancing gig (all about how Millennials now own more pets than Baby Boomers), and watched some tv.
By the end of the day, single-tasking just felt too annoying. I decided my challenge was over at 10, and happily surfed facebook while watching Wynonna Earp, and then wrote this post.
My experience of the first day was frustration with myself, and interest in the many issues intersecting with singletasking/multitasking, and appreciation for the reminder to stay focused. Not having my phone beside me all day was helpful (although it meant I missed an important text about a time-sensitive work issue - yikes).
Now, bedtime! And I'm going to plug my phone in in the living room, and single-task sleeping.