Zen and the art of Unitasking

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Blog entry by Stevinmarin posted 07-15-2010 07:59 PM 2513 reads 1 time favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A bit of woodworking philosophy and a reasonably rapid suggestion.

How many windows are open on your computer right now? Are you giving your full attention to any of them? As you read this, is you mind wandering to Facebook? If you are in your office working on a spreadsheet, do you find yourself bopping over to Twitter “just for a sec” to check in? Do you get calls from a co-worker right when you are in the middle of writing a report and open up a new window to respond to his or her question and then try to get back to your report, only to find yourself checking your email along the way? Do you believe you’ll never get everything done unless you eat lunch at your desk? We all do it. It’s called multitasking. But we have the power to overcome it.

Read the rest of my article on Unitasking in the woodshop...

-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers.

23 comments so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3697 days

#1 posted 07-15-2010 08:11 PM

I donot use twitter, facebook or a bunch of open computer stuff at one time. ususally just email and internet. I use the google sometimes. I try to spend as little time as possible at computer…I check email 4-5 times a day and then look at a few websites. Normally these times are when i take a break and my computer/office is upstairs above my workshop.
I know how to put the pictures on the website but have absolutely no idea about how to put the video there. I do not even have a video camera.

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3532 days

#2 posted 07-15-2010 08:17 PM

What do you mean, Steve? I’ve gotten to the point where I can read the newspaper, text message and rip down boards at the table saw at the same time! I used to be faster at this when I had my thumbs, but sometimes, sacrifices have to be made! Gotta go, I’ve got mail…....

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View joey's profile


396 posts in 4292 days

#3 posted 07-15-2010 08:21 PM

Great post Steve A great life lessen that more people these day really need to hear.

I remember being a young carpenter working with a man who was in his 70s who taught way more that I knew at the time but one of the thing that stick in mind was him saying “focus on driving that one nail, do it to the best of your ability, don’t think about any thing else, and then when that nail is driven, move on to the next, just don’t take all damn day doing it”. I would laugh and bend another nail and he would just shake his head, but I did learn!

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3424 days

#4 posted 07-15-2010 08:25 PM

I find I’m spending more and more time on LJ’s and less and less actually woodworking. I realised this whilst watching your video, on LJ’s. You’re right Steve, I’m logging off.

Oh and I checked the ‘Man’ manual. It says men are only able to do one thing at a time, apparently multi-taking is only available on the ‘Woman’ model. Now I know why my head hurts most of the time.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3503 days

#5 posted 07-15-2010 09:04 PM

every man or should I say women knows that the only spiecies on the earth
that can multitask is the wemens at least thats what they said all the time
and a man can only do one thing at the time
just lissen to a gruop of wemen for ten minuts
but who gets the job done , those who can focus at one job until it´s finished
before they move further and thats is what realy count big when you can
say to the manager ( I did this and this and this give me a bigger paycheck)

Steve Please do try to multitask in the future or there will be no more vidioclip from you


View degoose's profile


7255 posts in 3743 days

#6 posted 07-15-2010 09:05 PM

I multitask in my sleep.. I have been spending less time on here and more in the workshop or out on the road demonstrating the TWC… will have to do some posting when I have time… many projects nearing completion and ready for delivery…May even have time to take some photographs… did not get any of the last cabinet to leave the shop….oh well not too far away .. will get some when I visit…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View littlecope's profile


3072 posts in 3890 days

#7 posted 07-15-2010 09:49 PM

”I do one thing,
I do it well,
and then, I move on…”
Charles Emerson Winchester III

That always made sense to me… :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3374 days

#8 posted 07-15-2010 09:57 PM

I multitask a lot … but I know when to stop and focus on what I’m doing too. That’s something the CNC gear taught me, actually, which is a little funny since once it’s doing it’s thing, you can multitask. but if you aren’t paying 100% attention when you set everything up, “bad things happen” as they say.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 3328 days

#9 posted 07-15-2010 10:20 PM

Yeah, I used to be pretty good at unitasking…..then I discovered LJ’s….which is robbing me of time in front of the bench!!! At least I don’t do Twitface and the rest. Can’t watch videos on the Internet either… I live in the woods…only dail up connection which is SLOW…no TV reception which is good because TV is the supreme thief of time and brainwash par excellance!!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View schloemoe's profile


709 posts in 3326 days

#10 posted 07-15-2010 10:34 PM

So if I understand what you are saying.[sorry I was twitting and listening to the radio while you were talking ] I need to practice working on more than one thing at a time or was it work on one thing at a time. I’m sorry can you repeat what you said My air compressor kicked on and I couldn’t hear…..Just kidding . I’ve been trying to do 1 thing at a time but that is a hard habit to break…As ever Steve you hit the nail [ha] on the head…...........................Schloemoe

-- schloemoe, Oregon , http://www.

View Luke's profile


545 posts in 3682 days

#11 posted 07-16-2010 12:17 AM

That’s deep Steve. Great video post. Everyone needs to get into Unitasking. Thanks!

-- LAS,

View OttoH's profile


891 posts in 3398 days

#12 posted 07-16-2010 01:13 AM

Wow Steve, it reminded me of the Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. You are the perfect uncarved block!

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View canadianchips's profile


2626 posts in 3385 days

#13 posted 07-16-2010 02:33 AM

Multitask, unitask. The modern words for doing half- assed job at one time ! If a person puts 100% into there work, there is no % left to do another task ? Simple math folks. If a person does 50% into 1 task that leaves 50% for another task. That is 1/2 assed effort folks. Simple math again. So when a person does say they multitask, they really mean they are putting less effort into 1 job than the other. When a particular job only needs 50% effort to complete this multitask may work, but you still have to FOCUS on what needs to be done !
Hurray for those that think they can multitask. I admit it, Personally, I can not. “Perfectionist attitude that I have to deal with, one thing at a time done correctly”
(At my very best I can listen to music and work at same time, does that count ?) Throw in chewing Gum and I am hooped ! lol
“Okay the chewing gum analogy isn’t fair, I wear dentures and certain gums stick.”

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 3322 days

#14 posted 07-16-2010 07:15 AM

Full multitasking on multiple consoles. No facebook, tweeter, etc..

The only 2 browser windows that are not business related are CNN and Lumberjocks.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3579 days

#15 posted 07-16-2010 07:27 AM

Thanks Steve,
I don’t think I’ve ever multitasked in my life. My bosses would probably agree to that statment.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

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