Monday, May 3, 2010

so much to do . so little time


Main Entry: mul·ti·task·ing
Pronunciation: \-ˌtas-kiŋ\

Function: noun

Usage: often attributive

Date: 1966

1 : the concurrent performance of several jobs by a computer
2 : the performance of multiple tasks at one time
3 : jen jen

— mul·ti·task \-ˌtask\ intransitive verb
— mul·ti·task·er \-ˌtas-kər\ noun

i never really thought about the extent to which i "multitask." that was until i happened upon this hilarious article in 'real simple' about "unitasking."  the author tried to live for 10 days {i think} only doing 1 single act at a time.  if he was talking to his wife he would only be speaking to his wife...not buttering his toast, not walking to pick up his keys, not petting the dog...just the one activity.  he tried to unitask his thoughts as well.  if he was standing in a line at starbucks he wouldn't also be planning the best route to an appointment, texting and having a imaginary confrontation with the rude lady in front of him.  he would solely be thinking about the one activity at hand.  the very witty gentleman described his struggle & progress in detail; it was so interesting to me.

now i know that some boys people can't chew gum and walk at the same time, but for most of us...we're multitasking maniacs. it's so ingrained in us that we have to work incredibly hard just to focus on one task at a time.  

so down to the nitty-gritty.  is multitasking negative?  is there anything wrong with getting things done?  doesn't that just make us productive?  efficient?  

i think the issue is two fold.  let's put this in perspective.

sometimes multitasking has little to no consequence.  you can do all the things you need to, you accomplish what you need, nothing is compromised and all is complete in an appropriate amount of time.  maybe multitasking even leaves you with a greater amount of time to do meaningful or fun things.  treat.

in other situations multitasking can also lead to a great deal of good.  i feel like it is beneficial to work eternal aspects into the mundane, into the daily grind.  i think that it is important, even vital, to be in prayer throughout my work day.  vital to meditate on scripture while i take care of my duties & responsibilities.  this type of multitasking brings focus and Life into my day.  multitasking that has impact.

however, trying to utilize those same "tasks" in opposite order can be detrimental.  what if i'm trying to work my daily activities into my things i hold dear.  what if i'm so consumed with getting things done that i sacrifice my opportunities to spend quality time with the Lord or forgo real conversations and relationships in order to do chores?  while we know that we can talk to a friend and shop at the grocery at the same time, both activities will suffer - your attention is split.  unfortunately, one of those activities actually matters.  you're friend is going through a really tough time and needs your support, you care, but you're also calculating 20% off your favorite expensive cereal.  

do you know what i mean?  multitasking has the capacity to be inconsequential, advantageous, or even rotten & harmful - isn't that crazy? how important is it for us to recognize the practices that lead to fruit as well as the acts that damage our ability to be present in different situations? busyness can bind us, tire us, steal our joy and distort our priorities.  i know that busyness is one of my greatest struggles.  i hope to be aware of my thoughts & actions to take captive the dangerous habits i've created as well as invest in the type of multitasking that can bring growth. 

i write this as i eat, drink, type and talk on the phone.  oh geesh.


  1. your last sentence cracks me up. i multitask and it is detrimental for me at times... i miss chances to talk to people, miss times with the Lord, miss times to encourage my hubby, etc... all in an effort to scratch off my to do list. i'm so guilty. i'm learning to be less ocd. and the Lord is rich in mercy. thank goodness!

  2. I read an article in a magazine as well about multitasking. A study showed that when we multitask, we do less of a good job on each individual act. So...even though we get things done faster, we may do a sloppy job. The thought of this makes me want to slow down!! Great post!


  3. We must mulitask so that at the end of the day we can cuddle AND watch tv with our husbands. Otherwise, it would take all day to get nearly nothing accomplished.

  4. that is definitely me! I am the multitasking queen : )
    So true though that sometimes it's beneficial and sometimes the opposite of that. Now if we could just always know which it was at the right time!

  5. Great blog entry Jen. I know I deal with this as well. I hope that when it comes to relationships and being intentional that our focus is set and not divided. The thing that bothers me the most (and sadly I still do it occasionally)is when people text or talk on the phone during a meal or when we're hanging out. I feel like it says, "Sorry, there's something more important than you right now."

    If I'm going to love the Lord & love people, I need to be fully into it! Good reminder!

  6. Awesome post, Jen! This is me to a T, like most people. I think it definitely takes a conscious effort to keep all of our multi-tasking in perspective and appropriately prioritized. Happy Monday!

  7. Great food for thought! How is your week going so far?


i am thrilled to see your comments. please give me some more to be thrilled about...