A Month of Single-Tasking

At the start of June I decided to try taking one month off from multitasking.  This was inspired by a teaching retreat where I had: no TV, no cell reception and didn’t drive.  On the drive home my phone rang and I tried to answer it.  The loss of control of my truck was quickly recovered, but it shook me.  The realization of how practiced and “normal” multitasking had been for me prior to the retreat, and how overwhelming it was after such a short break prompted me to try a longer pause.
Taking one month, to do one thing at a time.  This meant that my time eating was spent eating, not talking on the phone or watching TV.  Drive time was spent driving, no eating or talking on the phone.  If the phone rang I would pull over to talk.  When talking with a friend I would avoid checking and replying to texts/Facebook and other virtual distractions.
Naturally, there were exceptions: if eating with someone we would of course talk; when driving music could play and I could drink water or coffee.  I could watch a movie and eat popcorn.   The first few days were easiest, the newness of the practice made it stand out in my awareness.  The fourth day I busted myself repeatedly, it took several days to break certain habits, like eating in front of the TV.
I spent 2 weeks of this month in New York City.  At first I thought it would be extra challenging to single-task while in the big city.  The main challenge was to not talk on the phone while walking.  Otherwise it was even easier.  It really helped to be staying in the peaceful environs of the ashram with no TV in sight.
The results of my month of single-tasking:
- I watch much less TV, and my tolerance for crappy shows has decreased to nil.  This is a very good thing for me.  It means that I spend more time reading or working on various projects.
- When I am out with friends I am more present and connected.  I do remember that for most of my life I never checked my phone for texts.  I even turn the thing off during meals with friends.
- I sleep better.  I wasn’t expecting this benefit.  I don’t know why this is but bedtime comes earlier and I sleep more hours.  Yay!
- I have more skill at completing my projects.  When I dive in to working I have more mojo and better focus.

At the end of the month I know that parts of single tasking will be integrated into my life.  But I am looking forward to watching cartoons with my Saturday breakfast.

Arturo
2 July 2012

Learning, studying, teaching

In order to be a good teacher it is important to remember what it means to be a student.  As a teacher, one of my best practices is to go be a student again.    Being able to embody beginner’s mind, even as an “expert” or “senior teacher”,  gives me great insights to bring back to my own teaching.   When becoming a student again, I stive to be really clear about taking off the teacher’s hat and being hungry for knowledge.

When I study with other teachers I often notice that their organization of materials, presentation and teaching styles are different than what I would do.  Many times, I learn teaching methods that I want to try in my own courses.  The experiences help me grow as a teacher and trainer.

Sadly, there are times when I learn what I would want to avoid doing.   Sometimes it is disoragnized materials or presentation; sometimes the way that students’ questions are handled.  If the teacher asks for feedback or has an evaluation form I will be honest about my experience.  For example, I recently took a teacher training in a particular style of yoga.  The experience was a wonderful workshop, but not much as far as a teacher training.  There was no opening to give feedback, so I kept my opinions to myself.   These experiences also help me grow as a teacher and trainer.

In teaching the Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Trainings we ask for written feedback from students of each training.  Over 15 years this feedback has shaped the training into what it is today.  Cheri and I are very grateful for our students help in crafting our training.

Arturo,

June 2012, NYC

 

A family of teachers.

My people are all teachers.  My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and brother are teachers, trainers, principals and educators.  They have all shown me the joys of sharing with knowlege hungry students.  Teaching is in my bones and blood.  My greatest teachers, my parents, taught me that if you study and do what you love, you will love teaching it to others.I love the human body.  It is a source of endless curiosity and exploration for me.  There is always more to experience, sense and learn.  In over 35 years of gaining “expertise” I have never felt like I reached the end of the road in my studies.  The body keeps teaching me more.  Yay!

Arturo

Mar de Jade Mexico

Dec 31, 2011