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  • Writer's pictureJack Mullaney

One Track Mind

Here's the thing about trying to work in an age where instant communication and information are at our disposal:

There are so many tasks that it's hard not to multi-task.

Or, try to multi-task at least. If I'm being honest with myself, I know I don't do it well. Most don't.

The sheer number of tasks - be it email, errands, texts, zoom calls, or something else - on our to-do lists have pushed us towards a mindset that prioritizes completion above all else. As a result, the quantity of tasks checked off has trumped the quality.

This sort of thinking has crept into my leisure as well. The other night, I found myself scrolling through social media while "watching" a movie on Netflix. On multiple different occasions, I've texted friends or watched YouTube videos on my phone while eating dinner.

But let me provide an honest assessment of all those occurrences.

I couldn't tell you anything I read on Twitter while that movie was playing.

I also would struggle to pass a test on the plot of that Netflix movie.

I know my texts sent during dinner have been more brief than if there hadn't been a tasty bite of food waiting on the other side.

I also know I've eaten past satisfaction while being distracted.

As long as I'm holding up a mirror, let's dive deeper.

I used to be able to lie on the couch with a book for hours. Now, I'm lucky if I make it to 30 minutes without feeling my mind wandering, yearning for a new stimulus.

I played golf on my high school team. Now, the thought of giving four hours to play a round is, well, less than appealing.

I used to watch sporting events from start to finish. Today, my behavior is more akin to the "tune-in-for-the-last-five-minutes-if-it's-close" guy.

Growing up, I prided myself on my ability to focus. In fact, as a college freshman, focus was one of my five strengths when I took the StrengthsFinder assessment during orientation.

That was in 2011.

In the last ten years, I feel like that strength has atrophied with the expanding power of technology. Part of my motivation in writing this post is to get my mind back on track.

One track.

That starts with one thing - one conversation, one chapter, one email - at a time.

Because just like in running, there's always the trap of "more is better."

I don't need to do more.

I need to do better.

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