It’s the season of giving. Wonderful. No, really, it is. There’s just one thing that doesn’t quite live up to the hype – shopping. If you’re anything like me, malls at this time of year are tantamount to the 7th circle of hell. Crowds of people, screaming children and interminable changing room queues cause total brain fog and before you can say ‘dazed and confused’, I’m sitting in Starbucks mainlining a grande Americano (with foam) while foaming at the mouth. This is not a good look. To preserve my vanity/sanity and make shopping excursions easier, I commit to monotasking – shopping for one item that I need; no more, no less.
Monotasking: the long-lost art of doing one thing at a time.
By focusing only on one item, I’ve given my decision muscles a long lunch break and, as a result, always manage to find what I need rather than floating aimlessly with a half-baked idea of what I might want.
Easier said than done though, am I right? Who’s got the time to shop for just ONE item? We’ve got trees that need decorating and turkeys that need stuffing. Even if you did have that kind of time, the modern shopping landscape is designed to distract and lure you in with its deviant loveliness (hello, self-gifting!). Rife with choice, we prefer to make quick and familiar decisions rather than draining our precious attention supplies – especially when time is at a premium and hourly parking charges loom large. That’s why multitasking is so damn tempting. We can graze and surf in a fraction of the time and ultimately get more done, right?
Wrong. Multi-tasking barely scratches the surface, relying on the shortcut of familiarity to get the job done which would explain why you buy your dad the same Christmas present every year (“But he loves Blue Stratos!” Er, no he doesn’t).
What’s more, it is argued that the brain can only process an average of seven pieces of information at a time, give or take two, which would explain why we always forget something off of our shopping lists that we shouldn’t. This may also explain the knee-jerk reflex of panic regifting and the simmering resentment it bestows. Festive, no? If last year’s soap-on-a-rope tendering still bears the mental scars. (Note to self: consider the subtext of any gift remotely related to personal hygiene), then these 5 simple steps will go a long way to redeeming your present-giving prowess.
Want to shop with intent?
- Make a list.
- Check it twice.
- Cull it down to five pieces – no more.
- Tackle one item at a time.
- Repeat with a new list if necessary.