I read an article a while back that suggested when we multitask, we diminish our brain power to the same extent as if we'd had one too many beers. (For me, that would be one more than one.) If that's true, it's a little sobering (no pun intended) to think about the implications; most of us are stumbling around in a drunken stupor and don't know it. When are we not multitasking?
My New Year's Declaration to become a single-tasker (see previous post) has grown out of a need for balance and increased brain power. Perhaps like you, I have a diverse portfolio of work, even in a given day. I'm a congregational consultant, a wife, a writer, a spiritual director, an agent for a non-profit, a mother and grandmother, a cook, a friend, a facilitator and teacher and director of an urban retreat center. And sometimes, in a given day, I am all of them!
The only way I can keep my sanity and give my best and my all to each is to focus on "one thing at a time." In my previous post, I referred to Jesus' words to Martha: "My dear Martha, you are worried and
upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned
about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke
"There is only one thing worth being concerned about" at a time.
To do that, here's where the battle is won or lost: It's hard work to put on blinders when I'm writing a presentation on my computer and see an email float into my inbox about something else that needs my attention. Or to ignore a phone call or text while I finish what I'm doing. Or to mentally brush aside a worrisome thought while I spend time praying and being with God. It's hard work--really hard work to single-task.And it's in those brief, innocuous moments where I choose to stay on task or multitask that I either find or lose my way.
This is my growing edge these days--to prioritize my "first thing" and choose to keep it as my "one thing" to focus on until it's finished or where it needs to be until I pick it up again. Most days I try and fail; but when I'm tenacious about single-tasking, I'm much more productive and fruitful than when I go back and forth from one thing to another. I also don't feel as overwhelmed and out of balance or waste as much time.
So, it's a new day and I'm ready to practice the wisdom of Jesus and be concerned about one thing at a time! And I'm hungrier than ever for the peace that comes from it. How about you?