Thoughts on Mono-tasking

Sculpting Group Thoughts on Mono-tasking

Anthony Bloom (Medical Doctor/Orthodox Archbishop): “You can simply be completely concerned with the person or task that is in front of you, and when you have finished you will discover that you have spent half the time doing it . . . yet you have seen everything and heard everything.” Beginning to Pray

I am laying on the bed/table in the emergency room with a thumb infection that got out of hand and thinking about the challenges of the emergency room doctor. My doctor, Andy, was coming in soon to do a small surgery on my thumb. In the room next to me a man was having a heart attack and in the room beyond that a young child was crying about some illness or injury. What a challenge to move quickly from diverse situations and be fully present for each. As he walks in the door of each room Andy needs to become intellectually and emotionally focused on the situation right in front of him. Mono-tasking.

Before becoming a priest and then Archbishop, Anthony Bloom worked as a medical doctor. He tells a story of his discovery of the benefits of mono-tasking in Beginning to Pray. Dr. Bloom had a doctor’s office like most of us have experienced with a waiting full of patients (patiently?) waiting to be seen. On the first day of his practice Dr. Bloom found that as he sat in his consulting room questioning a patient he had in his mind’s eye the many waiting patients in the next room. He felt he should be as quick as possible in the consulting room so as to help the next person.

Dr. Bloom was multitasking; Thinking of patients in one room while consulting with patients in another. Like our brains, his brain couldn’t do both simultaneously. Bloom observed that in the consulting room, “The result was that all the questions I asked I had to ask twice all the examinations I made I had to make twice or even three times.”

This multitasking was not working so Bloom changed tactics to mono-tasking. “I decided that I would behave as if the person who was with me was the only one who existed.” Once he changed to the mono-task method Bloom found examinations took half the time and he experienced less inner tension and agitation. Bloom felt a greater mastery over time and the ability to keep the storms of life on then outside and prayerful peace on the inside.

Using our strength to sculpt our heart, soul, and mind to love God and our neighbor.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Dave Segal says:

    Mono-tasking is a very valuable skill, closely related to mindfulness and contemplation. It’s also helpful in keeping you safe behind the wheel–distracted drivers are a major danger to themselves and others.

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