By Leo Babauta
I’m going to share a secret to productivity, happiness and mindfulness that you can practice right now, and every day:
Devote yourself single-mindedly to anything you do.
And by that, I mean anything. For example, you can single-mindedly focus on:
- Washing a dish
- Talking to someone
- Reading an online article
- Listening to a podcast
- Eating a grape
Most of us try to combine doing two or more things at once, by listening to a podcast while running. I’ve done this, and you can’t really enjoy either activity fully. You’re not really present with either. That’s not to say you should never combine activities, but to the extent that you decide to focus on one at a time, you’ll be more present with it, and more fully appreciate it.
Most of us are also very good at switching focus. I do this too, and what it means is that we’re not really devoting ourselves to anything. We’re saying that there is nothing worthy of our full attention. Nothing is sacred if we are constantly switching.
What if we made everything we do sacred?
What if we decide that if we’re going to spend precious moments of our life on something, we’re going to treat it with reverence, wonder and respect?
What if every time we ate something, we gave it our undivided attention? Every time we talk to someone, we treat their words as if they were their last words? (An idea I’m stealing from the amazing Jeffrey Davis of Tracking Wonder.)
What if, every time we open a website, we have only that website open … and treat it as if it were a sacred activity?
What if, every time we do anything, we give it not only our full attention, but our full appreciation? We found gratitude and wonder and love in everything we did?
If we acted like this, every day, then our lives would be filled with mindfulness, gratitude, happiness.
When you are about to start doing something, pause to notice what you’re doing. Set an intention to be fully devoted, single-mindedly devoted, to this one thing. Then give it your everything, as if it were your last act.