One thing at a time

Day 54 of #LiveWell2017


Oh, man, did I have an ah-ha moment this morning! I was getting ready to go to the Children’s Book Bank for my weekly volunteer gig. I had spent a little more time than I’d planned to prepping my sourdough loaf to rise while I was away, and now I was in a hurry to get myself out the door. I was brushing my teeth with one hand and trying to move my bicycle out of the storage room with the other, knocking my helmet off the shelf and scraping my leg with the pedals. I stopped, set the bike down, looked around, and realized that my buzzing electric toothbrush was still brushing the same tooth I’d started with two minutes before. I wasn’t accomplishing either task by trying to do both at the same time, and I was making a mess in the process.

I took a long, deep breath, left the bike, and finished brushing my teeth, mindfully – one tooth at a time, appreciating the feel of the brush and the minty flavor of the toothpaste. After that, I was put air in the bike tires, got my coat on and headed on my way in plenty of time to arrive at the book bank for my stint. One thing at a time.

This may seem like a small, petty example, but it is an important one. If I had continued to wrestle with the bike, gotten angry, injured myself, and made more of a mess to clean up, I might have ruined my whole day – and that of others. I could have left the house in a huff, been dangerous on the road, and taken my frustrations out on the people I work with at the book bank. Because I slowed down and did one thing at a time more mindfully, I left the house calm, relaxed, and happy. That attitude carried over to everything else that happened during the day.

Doing one thing at a time sounds so simple, but it is so hard. We are conditioned to multitask, to hurry, to do, do, do. Sometimes we need to just be…to slow down, even just for a minute or two each day, and remember to do one thing at a time.

So, have you had one of those ah-ha moments when you were doing too many things at once and nothing was going right? How did you resolve it?


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