The Myth of Multitasking

by Sharmon Coleman I am losing my mind!  In the last few weeks, I forgot to turn my car engine off before going in to mail a package, I went to the wrong pizza restaurant to pick up my online order, and I forgot to lock the bathroom door at Starbuck’s!  You can imagine what happened.  I did other crazy things that I won’t commit to print, so I finally asked my friends to pray for me.   One wise woman asked if I was multitasking.  Hmmmmm.  Isn’t multitasking a positive skill?


I decided to poke around the internet for more information, and found an alarming article by Dr. Travis Bradberry, “Multitasking Damages Your Brain and Your Career, New Studies Suggest."   Researchers found:

* Multitasking reduces efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time.

* Multitasking during cognitive tasks lowered participants’ IQ scores to the average range of an 8 year old child. 

Now, brain damage from multitasking needs more research to determine if it’s physically damaging the brain, but I don’t have enough brain cells to spare while they find out!


I couldn’t help but wonder if Jesus would multitask. In his blog, Michael Jinkins asks this question.  He defines multitasking as the cultivation of distraction, while  “Jesus seemed to possess a rare capacity to attend to that which was at hand.”  So the answer is no!  Jesus was PRESENT wherever He went. In her book, Captivating, Stacey Eldredge says, “To live as authentic, ransomed, and redeemed means to be real and present in this moment.”  We are not present in the moment when we focus on two or more things at a time. Science even lets us know that we act like 8 year olds when we try!


So, where do we go from here?  God has amply reminded me of how pervasive multitasking is in my life, from forgetting to lock the bathroom door in public, to my inability to answer questions succinctly because my mind is so fragmented, to even my Quiet Time where I start laundry, feed the cats, and drink coffee while “focusing on God.”  Really?  May we all slow down, be PRESENT at each moment of our day, and live out Psalm 119:10, “I’m SINGLE MINDED in pursuit of You; don’t let me miss the road signs You’ve posted (because I’m multi tasking).” MSG