Be present, give eye contact, and give your full attention to the person with whom you are talking.
This month I am trying to do more single-tasking. My daughter has observed that I do not fully give her attention when she wanders through to talk. My husband agrees. It is a criticism I find hard to hear. I like to continue reading, or working on my computer when someone interrupts me to talk. I have been doing more than one thing for a long time. I am good at it but, I delude myself.
Here is my plan. I will pay better attention. If I am interrupted unfairly I will ask for a later conversation. It sounds so simple. To move from one focus to talking with someone, I will shut my eyes briefly and inhale, then open them and really look at the person with whom I am talking.
The truth is, your brain is not designed to do more than one thing at a time. It literally cannot achieve this, except in very rare circumstances. Instead, it toggles back and forth from one task to the next. For example, when you are driving while talking on the phone, your brain can either use its resources to drive or to talk on the phone, but never both. Scans show that when you talk on the phone, there is limited activation of your visual brain – suggesting you are driving without really watching. This explains how we can sometimes end up places without knowing exactly how we got there.
Sandra Bond Chapman-Forbes Magazine "Why Single-Tasking Makes You Smarter"
More mindfulness Monday posts here.