Multitasking

Multitasking may be a relatively new term, but people have been mastering the art for years.  You no doubt practice it and I do too.  I fold laundry while waiting for the pasta to cook.  I scrub the shower walls while I am showering.  I sort through my mail while I am downloading updates to my computer or phone.  I am usually pleased with the result of accomplishing two things at once unless I violate one of the following rules.

Don’t try to do two things at once if one of them requires your full attention.  I learned this lesson when cooking hamburgers on the grill while at the same time working with my outdoor flowers.  My dual efforts produced roses that were nicely deadheaded but hamburgers that looked like discs of black molten lava.  Other people have learned the hard way that they should not text friends, retrieve spilled French fries or read a map while driving a car.  It is also not a good idea to manicure your nails while operating a power saw.

No matter how deft she is, no woman can accomplish a single other thing while she is changing a diaper, bathing an infant, or parallel parking her car.  Though some may try, no one can read a story to a child or have a meaningful conversation with another person while tweeting, texting, surfing the Web or playing Candy Crush on a phone.

Don’t try to do two things at once if the two activities work against each other.  For example, it would be foolish for me to vacuum my floors while at the same time scattering dust and lint throughout the house.  Also, I won’t be very effective in purging clutter from my home if I daily add more stuff to my stash.

Some things are mutually exclusive.  Doing one eliminates the possibility of doing the other.  I cannot eat like a 300-pound lineman and develop the body of a fashion model.  I cannot stay up until 3:00 a.m. reading a good book and then wake up at 6:00 a.m. feeling rested and ready for a new day.

This sounds like common sense, but it is easy to violate this principle without even thinking about it.  I violate it when I:

  • Try to cut sugar from my diet but continue to buy ice cream.
  • Try to spend my money responsibly but continue to accumulate credit cards.
  • Try to fill my mind with godly thoughts but continue to read trashy novels.

Be careful with multitasking.  Research shows that one’s efficiency falls when trying to multitask.  It is always better to do one thing well than to do several things poorly.

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