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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