I've been trying something over the last few days out of curiosity over how I would react to it. That is to say, I am only trying to consume one type of media at a time.
It started with a drive home where I turned OFF the radio and just watched the scenery and the play of light. One of the more fascinating drives home, honestly, as the sun was at that perfect angle and cutting through the late afternoon sky like a bronze blade, lighting up the half-assed changing leaves along the road and staining them all dark brown. I've done it for 3 days now and found that when I get home I have far more energy than I'd had in the past. I was able to cook dinner and pick up and clean up, then focus on what needed to happen next.
I then decided to stop multi-tasking with things like TV and movies (ie-knitting or tweeting or journaling). I discovered it was VERY hard to sit still, but that I enjoyed the show or movie a lot more. It was so bad that I was organizing the coffee table during commercial breaks just to get rid of the excess energy. My brain, it would seem, has been programmed over the past several months to do multiple things while seated on the couch and in the absence of it grows extremely anxious at being unable to fulfill this duty.
By night 3 I was able to sit most of the way through an hour of TV without going nuts. When I finally gave in and picked up a project I noted that I DID miss far more details in the show, and even part of what my husband was saying to me. It hadn't been quite so cut and dry up until that point, hence why I didn't think it was that big a deal. I'm of a far different mind now.
Now comes the difficult part. Do I continue with this, knowing how much it helps me focus? Do I start back up with the thought to be mindful in what I"m doing and listening to with the promise to shut it down if my brain's going mooshy? I tried it on Friday and noted I immediately tuned out, falling back in to the pattern. I'm not sure that's a good answer.
I know that the major stumbling point will be the feeling that by not multi-tasking I am somehow wasting time. At some point in the past 2 years I suddenly started caring about how much I was getting done with my time and that led to having multiple things on at once.
Instead, I think I shall teach myself that time can be made if truly necessary or wanted and I'll just throttle that urge until it shuts up. Ever since I started this I am loving how much calmer, less tired I am. My memory is getting sharper -something I was seriously worried about- and I would really far rather have that than listening to the drone of bad market news or crappy sit-coms as background noise for my homework. I like that my head feels depressurized. And to the guy who wrote "Getting Things Done", seriously. Learn the value of downtime. You're gonna die of a heart attack with a million stomach ulcers. Most of the planet found a way to put down time in to its biological cycle...you do not know better than nature.