Step by step, do one thing at a time

How often do we try to do more than one thing at once? We have cordless phones that are supposed to make our lives easier, but in some respects, they make our lives more confusing. My mum and I were at our friend's home for dinner a while ago and noticed her talking on the phone while simultaneously answering the door, checking on dinner, and changing her daughter's diaper (after she washed her hands, of course)! Many of us have the same tendency when we're speaking to someone and our mind is somewhere else, or when we're doing three or four chores all at the same time.

When you do too many things at once, it's impossible to be present-moment oriented. Thus, you not only lose out on much of the potential enjoyment of what you are doing, but you also become far less focused and effective.

An interesting exercise is to block out periods of time where you commit to doing only one thing at a time. Whether you're washing dishes, talking on the phone, driving a car, playing with your child, talking to your spouse, or reading a magazine, try to focus only on that one thing. Be present in what you are doing. Concentrate. You'll notice two things beginning to happen.

First, you'll actually enjoy what you are doing, even something mundane like washing dishes, or cleaning out a closet. When you're focused, rather than distracted, it enables you to become absorbed and interested in your activity, whatever it might be.

Second, you'll be amazed at how quickly and efficiently you'll get things done. Since I've become more present-moment oriented, my skills have virtually increased in all aspects of my life - writing, reading, cleaning house, and speaking on the phone.

You can do the same thing. It all starts with your decision to do one thing at a time.


  1. Dear Mei Mei,

    Please excuse us for this sudden email.
    We came across your blog and one of your writings caught our eye. We would like to seek a written permission to reproduce this particular reading titled "Step by Step, Do One Thing at a Time" in a student workbook that we are currently working on.
    Let us explain further through email correspondence.
    Our address is: eandre@corelibrary.jp

    We look forward to your response.


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