Time is invaluable nowadays. We're all trying to save time. That's the primary purpose of most of our modern gadgets and technology - apps that save us time paying our bills, ordering groceries, paying for parking, learning new skills faster. We want to minimize the amount of time we spend doing things we don't enjoy, so that we can spend more time doing the things we do enjoy,
Yet at the same time, we are more distracted than ever before in history because of the never-ending stream of information, news and advertising continually vying for our attention at all times of day and night. This overwhelming stream of stimulation has decreased our attention spans to unprecedented levels.
We think we're good at multi-tasking, but the latest brain science tells us that multi-tasking is actually impossible and when we think we're doing it we're actually switching really quickly between tasks. We are distracted or distract ourselves every 3 minutes on average, and "multitasking" causes us to take 50% longer to complete tasks and make 50% more mistakes, which have to then be corrected.1 This is kind of insanity.
"Even if we were to live for a thousand years, our lives would feel short if we threw away the time we actually had at our disposal.”
- Erling Kagge
Want to save time? Focus on one task at a time without getting distracted.
How to improve your focus?
Practice mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness means paying attention to what is going on in the present moment without judging your experience. When you're aware of what is going on right now (it’s always now), you will notice when you get distracted and correct it quickly. You will be more focused on the task at hand because you're paying attention to it, rather than being there physically while your mind wanders in every other direction. You will notice that you're wasting time on Instagram or Youtube way sooner than you otherwise would if you're not being mindful. You'll complete one task completely before moving onto the next, while minimizing any stress and anxiety you have about the rest of your to-do list.
If you focus on the present moment for 10 minutes every day, your brain will become accustomed to this and it will become a habit (this is what neuroplasticity has taught us). You'll become more mindful in your everyday life, in between meditations. You'll be less stressed, more focused, accomplish more in less time, make less mistakes, and so have more time to do the things you actually enjoy doing - those things we wouldn't categorize as "tasks" but just as living. And isn't that why we're here?