Tasks, not time…

This morning, I had a spill-over of my pour-over.

I received a new pour-over coffee maker for my birthday recently.  It’s sleek – black ceramic with a bamboo heat handle and lid – I love it.

You can’t see through it.

There are many ways to make coffee.  The most of which are very automatic and require little to no attention at all. Pour-over is not one of them.

The trick with brewing coffee using the pour-over method is that it’s a process. Because there is only so much water the cone can hold and because the container isn’t transparent, you have to take extra care and attention to monitor what you’re doing. If you don’t, your pour-over will become a spill-over like mine did.

The problem I had today was that I was doing too many things at once: poorly attending to my pour-over process, listening to a podcast, putting away dishes, drinking a breakfast shake, and talking with my wife. One of the reasons I wanted a pour-over coffee maker is not only for a great cup of coffee (and the recent research that suggests that filtered coffee is better for your heart), but the Zen-like experience it forces of the one making it – the slow, attentive, intentionality that’s required of the process.

Preparing pour-over coffee is not the only kind of task that requires the kind of un-distracted single-mindedness. Many of the knowledge work and creative types of activities require you to be indistractable.

Why is it, then, that we insist on – both for ourselves and others – trying to do so many things at once? (By the way, Celeste Headlee offers some great thoughts on this, by the way).

Is it not the case that we might be better served – and might better serve others – if we can focus on our tasks instead of expecting ourselves to do too much with our time?

Just think, if we can get to a point where we are better focusing on the task at hand, doesn’t that also mean we might be able to make…

…a better cup of coffee?

…better products?

…better relationships?


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