Multitasking is something much of our North American work world takes for granted. I used to be proud of how much of it I could do, in my ministry and in the family. (What can I say? I’m an unrepentant “J” in Myers-Briggs language.) I even excelled in doing it mentally. I used to say, “If I plan to do ten things today, there’s a better chance I’ll get to eight instead of five.” It was a kind of inner competition with myself.
But now, of course, as time marches on in this getting-older body, it’s not as easy to get to it all – or to remember to get back to all that I started. So it was a relief to realize it’s not just a “senior” matter. Apparently multitasking can be a distraction at any age. Studies have shown that multitasking is bad for the kind of cognitive work required in a classroom. It has a negative effect on memory and recall (Uh oh). And the presence of other students’ electronic devices even distracts those who aren’t using them. The result is loss of focus as a collaborative process.1
There’s a certain simplicity in doing one thing at a time, being fully present to it. I confess I’m still hooked on doing multiple things at once. It is an addiction, after all. But I’m working on it . . . alongside everything else. . . .
Your partner in ministry,
1 – Sept. 25, ’14 Washington Post, cited in the Oct. 29, ’14 Christian Century