I finally realized multitasking was a waste of time. Taking this shortcut fooled me into feeling I could truly get more done. Paradoxically not so, as chapter 48 reveals, One does less and less until one does nothing at all, and when one does nothing at all there is nothing that is undone. The divided attention of multitasking also makes it impossible to do as chapter 64 advises, Be as careful at the end as at the beginning, And there will be no ruined enterprises.
It isn’t learning or an epiphany that accounts for my increased wisdom here. Most likely, it is due to becoming older and having less energy to chase and pack on desires as I could in my youth. Wisdom comes when folly takes too much energy.
However, one area of multitasking really does pay off. Maintaining good posture throughout the day’s various activities is multitasking. Posture helps keep me grounded all the while. The photo above shows a version of beneficial multitasking. Here I’m drying off after a bath and training balance simultaneously (1). Balance becomes increasingly problematic as we age, so I’d be wise to do anything I can to slow down its gradual, even imperceptible, deterioration.
Sitting on the floor, erect with a slight forward bend or other yoga like stretching, helps counteract negative aspects of sedentary activity. In the photo, I am flossing my teeth, reading Science News, and bending forward. I’m doing three activities simultaneously and additively and neither interferes with the other.
The reason this kind of multitasking is additive is that the activities are duties, not desire driven pleasures or goals… except for the desire to do my duty vis-à-vis my body. This conforms to Buddha’s Fourth Truth: “… whose will is bent on what he ought to do, whose sole desire is the performance of his duty…” . Serving a duty to body is a primal existential duty. One that Mother Nature smiles upon.
(1) The smiley face version of was my son Kyle’s creation. It is surprising how modest both my sons are. Perhaps it’s a reaction to how little concern I have for such things. To see a humorous take on this, watch from minute 5:10 on their video blog AB #16: now with 30% more bloginess!