writing for children

You can’t spell Multitasking without King

I’ve told people for years that I am no good at multitasking.

They say, “But you’re a mom! Of course you are!”

I’m a mom, yes. But a multitasker? Nope. I’m not. I have to ask my children to repeat themselves if I’m on the computer. I have to ask my hubby to say that “one more time”… when I’m trying to write OR I have to go back read what I wrote because I was paying attention to what was being said to me.

So that must mean your multitasking abilities are superior to mine, right?

According to an article on MSN today — not so much. Before you get too riled up, read on…

The author basically says our brains are made to focus on thing at a time. Even when we think we are multitasking, our brains are making one thing KING. The brain switches from one thing to another and is only focusing on that one thing. It takes a few seconds for it to make the switch, but once it does, it is not focusing on the “other” thing anymore.

In other words:

I cannot watch TV and listen to my beautiful child tell me about her day at the same time.My brain is either blocking out the TV or the her voice at different points in the conversation.

I cannot read email and listen to someone at the same time. My brain only focuses on one. I need to put down the computer or ask the person to wait five minutes and then give them my full attention.

I cannot talk or text on the phone while driving in traffic and do either well. I don’t care how good you are, neither can you. We all need to put down our phones and drive or pull over to the side of the road and talk.

I cannot use the curling iron, cook dinner, revamp my homeschool schedule on my iphone and call my bestie all at the same time… Someone is going to get hurt.

There are things we do that don’t need our focus. Such as breathing, scratching our head or putting on our shoes. We can wash dishes and chat. We can sweep and listen to our spouse tell us about their day. Because who really cares if we miss the dust bunnies in the corner? The dustbunnies will be happy about the situation, I’m sure. But rest assured, our brains are still making a decision as to what we are focused on.

Want to read the article? http://areyoufast.msn.com/articles/can-you-truly-multitask-/252561849?wt.mc_id=msn#fbid=Q68K2rxn3-t 

Here are a few more related posts by other folks: http://www.azarask.in/blog/post/you-cant-multitask/, http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/08/27/excess-multi-tasking-has-downside/8013.html, and a sometimes dry, but still interesting documentary on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwF43voCqC0 

Oh – and just a little more food for thought…  Jesus warns us about multitasking in a way. He said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”  He then applied it to trying to serve God and Money. He says we can’t serve both of them at the same time either. Then he went on to say that we shouldn’t worry about tomorrow… or the food we will eat… or the clothes we will wear.  He said, “Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well. 34 So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  (Matthew 6:24-34)

So the way I’m reading that… if I focus on God first and seek out His direction for me… then all the other stuff will fall into place as it should be?  

It’s something to ponder.

So what are your thoughts? Do you multitask? Are you good at it? Or are does it stress you out?


20 thoughts on “You can’t spell Multitasking without King

  1. Great post, Donna. Esp. about seeking first the Kingdom of God. Everything does fall into place. Here’s an example of my multitasking day. I write while the clothes are in the wash, and then go for a walk while they are in the dryer. Hee hee … actually, I’m terrible at multitasking because I can’t even listen to music while I do anything else, maybe while washing dishes or mopping the floor. But I prefer silence.


    1. that is MY kind of multitasking, Vijaya! 🙂 I can start the dishwasher, washing machine and then dryer… then go clean the living room. But all those machines are doing my multitasking for me! 🙂


  2. Girl, you are right on the money! I can’t multitask either!!! And making the King the One reigning over our tasks is surely key to anything we do!!! Wonderful post!!! Love you!


  3. I am very good at burning supper while answering email. Just so you know. In fact I might be the Queen of such multitasking accomplishments!


  4. Thank you! I have been trying to get students to understand that for years. If you are fiddling with pencils or shoes or passing notes you are not focusing on what is being said or what you have to do. It is nice to note there is documentation to back up what I have said for years.


    1. It’s interesting b/c when I take notes, I remember things better. But I sometimes miss some of what the teacher is saying while I’m writing. So I have to ask the person beside me what was just said! 🙂


  5. Maybe you can do it, but do it well?

    It was Saturday morning and my kids were finishing homework (I know what you’re thinking) while I was composing three emails with one hand, tapping a text with the other, talking on the phone while the call-waiting line was ringing, answering text questions, quieting two barking dogs…and my computer finally started complaining that 43 open webpages was more than it could bear. (Really?!?! I expect more….) This all literally happened in the span of 10 seconds, while the whole time my brain was really engaged in “which Literature program fits better with my History curriculum and will that Writing Comp program bog us down in busywork?”

    It’s definitely better to focus on one thing at a time. Depth, not breadth, I have to constantly remind myself. Less is more. I really don’t believe I can do any of it well if I’m doing too much at once. Jane of all trades, master of none. (I’m just feeling so cliche-ish today!) And as I tell my kids — anything can be a distraction; I think I’d better take my own advice! Thanks for the thoughts, Donna.


    1. It really is a hard habit to break. I decided NOT to take my iphone with me to the park today. It was easy to leave it… but then realized how weird it felt for it not to be in pocket. I don’t like feeling like I’m reliant on that piece of metal!


  6. Amen! There is no such thing as multitasking. I’ve been preaching it for years! Our brains focus on ONE thing at a time. We just get pretty good at hopping back and forth between two or more things at warp 5 speeds.



  7. I guess it is more like juggling. Not everyone is good at starting several balls going and then paying attention to the right one at the right time. This is more or less what I do. I start several balls rolling and write myself many notes to remember to check on the things I have begun so that I finish well. Do I do it right all the time? No. Do I fight for white space in my life? Yes. And yes again.

    Do I have to take some of the balls out of the air at times because I have reached and surpassed my limit? Yes. Do I always have use His wisdom to do so in time? No. Have I been a terrible listener? Yes. I must admit that the worst part is this…when the balls do stay in the air and it all works smoothly…makes you feel an illusion that it will do so again and again. Ha Ha! Therein lies the addiction.

    Just gotta make sure what you/I juggle is something that can fall to the ground and not break. Otherwise it needs your full attention…and honor.


    1. My sweet Suzie-Q — I’ve seen you juggle… and you do a fine job. 🙂

      I think multitasking (the way I see it, anyway) would be more like juggling and then trying to dictate a story and thinking you can listen to your 5yo at the same time and trying to play piano at with your toes. Even though juggling is a complex task, it is still a single task. Like playing the piano. You are using multiple parts of your brain at once, but still being used to attain a single goal.

      Juggling with one hand AND playing the piano with the other (or witih your toes), however, would make my brain explode!

      And yes, the the addiction is definitely fueled by the illusion that everything is working out just fine. When the balls stay in the air and the piano is still in tune, we think we are leading a balanced life. When in reality, the one false move and the whole thing will fall on our heads with a horribly out of tune crash!


  8. AMen. I thought this blog was going to be about Jesus as King, and in a way it is, isn’t it? Glad you brought His Word to this conversation. Personally, I find myself trying to juggle, getting stressed, etc, etc. I think there are too many things one everyone’s to do list– as well as TOO Many possibilities. FOr heaven’s sake, do we really need so many cereal or yogurt choices- ???SOrry, I am ranting. thanks for the post.


  9. I am glad you picked up on the King Jesus part, too, Carol! I had that in mind as I was writing. And I completely agree about the food choices. I have talked with folks from other countries who have come here and been amazed/overwhlemed at the choices we have. We don’t realize how much we have and how much freedom we take for granted…even in our grocery store shopping!

    Your blog series is fantastic, btw!


  10. I’m not sure I can “love” this and type about it at the same time … but I DO! hahaha! Seriously, though this is so practical, Donna! Thanks for another great post!


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