The Multitasking Epidemic
By Lisa Ash of Kansas City, MO, USA
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, or in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind—just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you—so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. —1 Corinthians 1:3–7 NRSV
I choked on a piece of spinach covered with homemade garden-herb dressing. Not the usual choking culprit. I coughed for a good three minutes before slugging back some lemon water and finding my breath again.
Why did I choke? Multitasking. It has become an epidemic. I thought I was immune to it, but somehow I caught the bug. For years I suffered from multitasking; I deluded myself into thinking I could do four things at once with equal care and attention. Untrue! Research still proves that humans are not great at multitasking.
That particular spinach-choking day, I was trying to text my Ironman, plug my phone in to charge, talk to my dog, and eat a salad—all at the same time. None of these things were life-changing, life-threatening, immediate, or necessary. All of them could have happened in a neat, organized, sequential order, and I would have lived to tell about it. Instead, I almost didn’t.
Haven’t I learned that I should do one thing at a time, with full and careful consideration, in order to truly enjoy it? Isn’t this called mindfulness? The wise Thich Nhat Hanh even says doing one thing at a time (like eating my delicious breakfast salad) is the secret to my success.
“Sometimes we eat and we are not aware that we’re eating. Our mind isn’t there. When our mind isn’t present, we look but we don’t see, we listen but we don’t hear, we eat but we don’t know the flavor of the food. This is a state of forgetfulness. To be truly present, we have to stop our thinking. This is the secret to success.” [Emphasis added]
Let me repeat: This is the secret to my success!
What is the cure? I’m not sure, but it may require a change in mindset that approaches all I’m doing as play instead of work. It may require me to set an intention at the beginning of the day that I am going to practice self-care by giving my brain the opportunity to be present. It may require diligent awareness of how I can heal my fragmented mind-body connection by slowing down, sitting still, and setting this intention: “Today, I will consciously choose to focus on one thing at a time.”
It will require me to return to mindfulness as often as I can, calling myself back repeatedly, like the ringing of the bell calls monks to meditation.
When do you find yourself multitasking? What are you missing out on because you aren’t paying attention? How are you going to pay closer attention to all the little things that could bring you joy?
Looking forward to healing with you.
May I see your light in all life.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Light of God
Close your eyes, and become centered with your breath. As you breathe gently in and out, reflect on the statement, “The light of God is in all things.” The light has a bright, soft beauty and radiates God’s healing love. The light of God reaches you and permeates you with a deep sense of peace. Rest in the light as it surrounds and fills you. Thank God that you live in God’s light, and it lives in you.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click Click here to comment or read online.