Apr 17

Mindful Multitasking

Noted ADHD expert Dr. Ari Tuckman has said: “You don’t have to have ADHD to feel like you have ADHD. The world has become so distracting that everyone is working harder to stay focused.” (Understand Your Brain, Get More Done)

I think sometimes we want to find a simple reason for a complex problem. If we can come up with a name for it, we can also find the perfect solution. Right? But opinions differ on how to define ADHD, who has it, and what to do about it. Its diagnosis and treatment recommendations have been a controversial topic since the 1970s.

Being easily distracted is just one of the components of ADHD. And although some suffer from this trait more than others, becoming distracted is not limited to a single group of people.

Thousands of years ago, the Buddha was teaching people how to overcome their distractions. So getting distracted is nothing new. But many believe that modern technology, while a miraculous invention—after all, without it I couldn’t send this to you and you couldn’t read it—may have made things worse.

We turn on the computer and 20 flashing offers, advertisements, and options pop into view. We need a piece of information and we find 100 pieces. We jump from one link to another. I admit to doing this myself. So how do we control our technology so that it doesn’t control us?

Just as with the treatment of ADHD, for which I don’t believe there is one single answer, the same holds true for how we deal with the constant temptations of the internet.

But one way is by starting to train our minds to become more aware of what we are doing, while we are doing it. By practicing meditation daily, even for five or ten minutes, and by bringing a degree of mindfulness to all of our activities, we can better resist the temptation to become completely swept up in whatever captivates us at the moment.

We can become more like the referee at a ball game and less like the ball being bounced around.

It’s not that we have to be fixated on only one task. We can move from task to task, as long as we maintain some kind of awareness of what we are doing.

By learning to keep a partial focus on the body and breath, we are able to feel more grounded. This remembering of ourselves creates a space around our thoughts. Then we can acknowledge, “Yes, I’m getting caught up in this. Is this really what I choose to do with my time at this moment? Is there a better choice that I can make? Do I need to read this information now? Do I need it at all?”

Click here to read an article from Science Daily on Mindful Multitasking.


And here is a link to some guided meditations that you can play or download.


“Meditation is the ultimate mobile device; you can use it anywhere, anytime, unobtrusively.”

-Sharon Salzberg, Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation