It’s about time
At MMINDD Labs, we take time seriously. Like everyone we know, even the most mindful, we struggle with it. We spend it. We share it. We try to save and to savor it. And sometimes we end up wasting it.
So when we set out to build tools for multiminders – for people like ourselves who can’t help but ‘lean in’ to life - we set out to design for it.
Inspired by the stories and mind designs of scores of people who shared their life orchestration strategies, we knew from the start that the crux of the matter wouldn’t be the mapping of time to tasks – slicing, dicing, tracking, reordering and repurposing blocks of time. The crux of the matter literally lay above time/task management – at the level of envisioning, interconnecting, shifting, completing and redirecting the flow of tasks or conversations or problems to be solved into which each set of commitments was translated. Attending to time. Minding time. Minding life.
Time to shift
Time is not the simple, linear beast we pretend it is.
Gone are the long linear career paths, fixed mono-tasking work hours, and simple identities of the industrial age. Almost gone are the front facing “Pay attention!” rows-of-desks classrooms and linear packages of content that were once synonymous with learning. Basic dichotomies like 'here' vs. 'there' and 'alone' vs. 'together' no longer apply. We learn where, when and while we do, pursuing a path, to an outcome, usually with others. Which means we spend most of our waking hours – and many of our sleeping hours – doing multiple things at the same time.
Yet we cling to time and task management tools that simply can’t match the actual nature of our lives. Month by month, the gap between how we see and manage ourselves in these tools and how we are actually going about our 21st century lives widens.
From Tasking to Minding
Tasking is what makes it possible to work an assembly line. Minding is what makes its possible to live a full, healthy 21st century life.
Continuing to apply industrial ideas of time, attention, productivity, and health to post-industrial lives is just plain painful. Almost every day we feel called to simultaneously attend to our projects, teams, families, clients, collaborations, and communities. As a result, we continually approach-avoid ‘overload’, dancing at the edge of some cognitive cliff and forgetting to attend to ourselves. We seek, invent, and share productivity-hacks, life-hacks, digital assistants, and GoogleNow’s. A quiet epidemic of ‘perceived achievement deficit disorder' is unfolding.
At its core, minding is a relationship-centric, narrative-based way of attending to the business of life, in time and over time. It is attention management for a world of interconnectivity and interdependence. Call it 'social attention management' or 'agile attention management,' if you will. Minding is what makes it possible to efficiently perform quality work that results from shared responsibility for interdependent activities. It is about creating and sustaining a productivity flow between the individual and the collective.
From Multitasking to Multiminding
to mind (v.)
1. to bring (an object or idea) to mind; remember 2. a. to become aware of; notice b. to have in mind as a goal or purpose; intend 3. to attend to 4. to be careful about 5. to care about; be concerned about 6. to take care or charge of; look after
Minding is what lies beyond tasking. Multiminding is what lies beyond multitasking – and can release us from that the dead-end of the industrial paradigm. Both are old and new, a return to and reframing of natural human abilities.
At MMINDD, we fell upon the existence of these "alternative" attention management strategies in the course of doing deep original design for a business focused on women – those traditionally tasked with minding others and creating/sustaining the systems underpinning life. We later discovered that social scientists have been onto this for decades, noting a cultural spectrum anchored on one end by what they call polychronistic cultures, driven by kreios (relative time) and social processes. At the other end of the spectrum lie the monochronistic cultures that dominate the West (think 20th century Germany), which are chronos (absolute or clock-time) and work/task driven. New neuroscience is making it clear that our mindbodies (or bodyminds) operate in multiple modes on multiple levels with multiple cross effects at the same time. The new 'behavioral economics' is making it clear humans are not rational info processors. We believe it’s time for a new age in productivity.
It’s time to get real. Life isn’t a series of tasks or a set of projects to be managed or conquered. A human is not a machine. Less than 5% of mental processing surfaces as conscious thought. And different genders do act, think and interact differently.
It’s time to be human. Data is informative. Written lists are essential. Scheduling makes the world go round. But life is about minding – about being present in the unfolding narratives that present the key commitments and achievements in our lives. Simply put, “To mmindd is human.”
It’s time to accept that our lives our complex – and beautifully so. On a simple level, a simple tool like a calendar works, but when it comes to attending to your life as a whole, you deserve a technology designed to serve – and to activate – the full, beautiful complexity of your mind.
Prepare to meet your inner multiminder.