Dear Dr. B,
I hear lots of people talk about multi-tasking, but I don’t think I’ve ever been able to multi-task very well. Is that just something you are born with? How can I improve my ability to multi-task?
Thanks for your help, Multi-Task Challenged
Let me put your mind at ease: none of us multi-task very well!
Why do I say that? Because your brain can only attend to one thing at a time. So when people say they are multi-tasking, what they are really doing is shifting their brain’s attention rapidly from one task to another. When we do this, however, it always takes our brain a few seconds to re-focus on the task we are now attending to.
Some people are better at paying attention than others, and some are better at organizing and prioritizing, all of which are skills that have been lumped together and considered “multi-tasking.” Paying attention, organization, prioritization are all skills we can improve with focused effort.
When I feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to spend my energy on for a day, I pray about it. I pray and ask the Lord to show me the priority for the day, and to give me the ability to focus on the task He has called me to in the moment.
“Jesus said, ‘No-one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God'” (Luke 9:62).
Keep your focus straight ahead on what God has called you to do, and don’t look to the left or the right or behind. When you’ve completed that task, move on to the next one He has called you to do.
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The term “multi-task” came from a feature of early PC’s, namely that a user could switch from one application to another, such as from a word processor to e-mail, without closing one application and opening another. It gave the perception that the machine could do multiple things at once. In reality, though, the PC was still only doing one thing at a time, just doing it with very good organization of the current and previous tasks. Maybe a better description would be “multi-organized.”
I love knowing that history. Again, just goes to show how truly incapable it is to “Multi-Task!” There are some days I would appreciate a little more ability to be “multi-organized!” Thanks for sharing.
I love this because I’m a pretty good multi-tasker, but REALLY need to work harder at being less efficient and more present to my children and to the work of God in my daily living. I don’t get brownie points for accomplishing a lot in one day, if I’ve not looked once into the wide green eyes of my littlest man cub.
Michele, you’ve got your priorities clear! You will never say you wish you’d worked more in life, but spending time with God and cherishing the time we have available with our little ones is priceless! And I suspect, when God is your first priority and family second, you will have great efficiency with the time that is left. Way to go!!
Great verse. It perfectly aligns to this message. Loved it. I am always prone to listening to music while writing comments on blogs, but perhaps I should shut it down. Cheering on today from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.
So glad you stopped by, Kelly! Enjoy your tunes 😉
I’m glad to hear it’s not just me! Thanks for linking up at the #LifeGivingLinkUp
Oh no, Sue, none of us is immune. The good news is, Because of Him, Hope Prevails!
Such a great post! I’m a recovering over-worked multi-tasker, I went through a 6 month period of retraining my brain to only focus on one thing at a time. Now life is becoming less stressed since I’m focusing on what He wants me to focus on. So glad you joined my link up at #wordswithwinter Have a blessed week!
I was thrilled to find your blog, and just as thrilled to hear that you’re learning to rest in the peace that comes from doing what He wants you to do, when He wants you to do it. Because of Him, Hope Prevails!
I love having official confirmation that multi-tasking doesn’t exist! I can’t listen to something (even music with words) and write at the same time. I can’t think and listen at the same time ;). I love your tip for asking God what he wants us to focus on for the day. Something I need to do more often!
So glad to see you here, Anita! I find that when we ask God to help us focus on His priorities, there is always enough time to complete whatever He directs. That provides peace as opposed to the frenzy that so-called-multi-tasking presents!
Yesterday my husband and I were talking about multi-tasking, so it’s fun to read this today. As I’m thinking about when I think I’m multi-tasking, you’re right that I’m mostly organizing and prioritizing well. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.
Glad this post resonated with you. Stay focused on the important thing and the rest will fall into place.
I really liked Scott’s comment! That makes so much sense – my multi-tasking leads me to jump around from thing to thing so distractedly. Instead, I want to just accomplish that which God has asked me to do for the day!
What you described Jennifer, is reality…it really isn’t multi-tasking, it’s our brain jumping from one distraction to another. Keep your focus on Him!
This was certainly fascinating 🙂 I really enjoyed this post, dear Dr. Michelle. It was a good reminder to finish on task at a time and to do a job that is honoring to the Lord. Thanks for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. Happy weekend!
We all need those reminders from time to time, don’t we? We must daily commit our way unto the Lord. Thanks for stopping by!
I think it is refreshing. I don’t multitask well either. I agree no one is able to really accomplish this in their lives. You have to have focus and Jesus is a great place to start. Thanks for sharing.
Mary, Jesus is always the best place to start. Now we must make sure we instill that wisdom in the younger generations who believe the fallacy of multi-tasking! Blessings!
Great post and great advice yo keep our eyes on Jesus and ask Him what He wants us to do. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings
Thanks for stopping by Terri! I’m learning that the more I keep my eyes focused on Jesus, the better job I do, and the more efficient I am with my time–getting to those things that matter most. Because of Him, Hope Prevails!
This is a very interesting topic. Thanks for the encouragement in your words. I’m visiting you from Still Saturday Link Up.
Thanks for linking up with #JoyHopeLive Hope to see you again tomorrow.
I learned something new today! 🙂 I appreciate your intentionality in always pointing us back toward our Creator. Thank you for linking up with us at Grace & Truth!