Impossible Multitasking

by Photos8.comThere are a lot of things I can multitask, but some things are impossible.

I recently walked by a group of people snorkeling in shallow water. They were geared up with their mouthpieces and eye masks, which was perfect for snorkeling but posed a problem when they needed to talk. One girl was trying to explain something to a man and was frustrated that he couldn’t hear or understand her. She tried to make her words as clear as possible, emphasizing the distorted sounds with volume, but it sounded like someone trying to sing a song while yawning.

The “expert” opinion right now is that multitasking is detrimental to productivity. I disagree…and agree. When I think about my most effective multitasking, I realize that I’m really not doing more than one thing at once; it’s more about the way I’m processing and organizing my thoughts and plans. As I’m doing one thing, I’m entertaining options to be more efficient, figuring out what I can do on my way through a room or across town, considering how I can save steps and time. But I really only take things one step at a time. We can think while doing a lot of things, but we can’t do a lot of things (other than thinking) at the same time. Maybe I’m not multitasking after all; perhaps I’m just making and executing plans.

When we snorkel, we need certain equipment, and that same equipment limits us to talk. Likewise, when we run, we can’t ride a bike. When we mow the lawn, we can’t simultaneously stain the fence. When we get dressed, we can’t fix our hair and brush our teeth. The requirements of one thing reduce the possibility or effectiveness of another.

Every choice we make reduces our access to other choices. We limit the possibilities, and that can be a good thing. It can also be detrimental if we’re not choosing well. Consider the spiritual choices you’re making. What options do your choices eliminate? What choices crowd out the spiritual choices you have?

God never intended for you to do it all. You simply can’t.

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