We live in a culture that idolizes busyness and the busiest individuals seem to be the most successful ones. In such a world, it's no wonder that we place such a premium on the ability to multitask. Yet, in choosing to pursue multiple projects at once, there is a certain amount of attention that is lost to each task.
Of course, this probably isn't a deal-breaker if you're trying to fold laundry and sort the mail, but what about the more important tasks? What happens when we try to text and drive, pay the bills and help our children with their homework, or have an important conversation with our significant other while getting out the door for a work day? Usually, it doesn't seem to turn out too bad, but what about the one time it sparked an argument with the person you love, or tears from someone dependent on you?
That's the harsh reality of too much multitasking, too much speeding through our lives. Efficiency shouldn't only be determined by the rate at which we complete tasks, but rather by the way we complete them. If our work is to be valued, shouldn't we place enough value on it to give it our undivided attention? Remember that saying you heard as a kid, "What you put in is what you get out"? Well, the older we get, the more truth there seems to be in this phrase.
Maybe the simple reality is that our culture puts less value on quality than quantity, but perhaps we need to rethink that. Maybe it's time to recognize what multitasking is really doing to our society. It may not be as simple as that, but limiting our multitasking seems to be a step in the right direction. Instead of idolizing the busiest parts of our lives, let's find value in the quiet moments of directing all of our focus towards one important goal at a time.
Imagine a world in which parents gave their children undivided attention or couples focused solely on healthy communication with one another when needed. It's not too difficult to see the value in that kind of living, so why do we find it to be such a challenge? At the risk of giving too generic an answer, I might hazard a guess; though we want richer personal lives, we are less than willing to disappoint the expectations of others (some real, others possibly imagined) for the sake of our own comfort and health.
Yet, I think we must be willing to step outside our comfort zones for the sake of healthier selves, healthier families, and a healthier world.