Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happiness, Meditation, and Multi-Tasking

Multi-tasking does not seem to be the buzzword that it was a couple of years ago.  That is a good thing.  Multi-tasking is good for machines, bad for people! 

Most of us have experienced anxiety as a result of too many responsibilities, obligations, or too much thinking.  The solace of meditation brings relief to a cluttered mind, but meditation is too encumbered.  Taking time out of an already busy schedule to explicitly do nothing is downright bizarre. 

Quite a while ago I had a book which espoused the benefits of "Zen driving".  That's right...enlightenment through driving a car.  The book was not as strange as it sounds.  The gist was that one may achieve a meditative state by immersing themselves in a mundane task.  My Zen driving is usually Zen soldering or Zen programming.  They both lower my blood pressure and make me a much happier person.

What then, about this multi-tasking.  If the act of uncluttering our thoughts brings about stress relief, what is the effect of multi-tasking on our stress level?  My conclusion is that to multi-task means to be perpetually interrupted.  Constant interruptions create a clutter of thoughts, and a clutter of thoughts leads to higher levels of stress.

The next time you're at the office you might consider setting your phone to "Do Not Disturb" and closing your email.  It may do wonders for your blood pressure!

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