In the name of accomplishment, people crave getting more done and doing multiple things all at the same time. Multitasking has become a more commonplace term, as computers have given us the ability to have more than one program open and operating at the same time.
Humans have become trained to think and live like computers. As technology increases, the craving to do more at the same time is rising. Entrepreneurs, administrators, moms, pastors and students are just a few of the groups of people that can be found bragging about their multitasking abilities.
We want to get as much done as we can. How often can you find a teenager on a computer while the TV is on and music is playing in the background? What about a corporate worker who is feverishly messaging on their computer while on the phone and browsing web sites? How many of us take cell phone calls or text friends when we are talking to someone else?
Do we attend meetings where we are not paying attention at all, simply because we are too busy thinking about the twenty other things we “have to do?” Moms, have you found yourself trying to cook dinner, clean and talk on the phone, while your child sits in front of you staring at you?
Technology is desired, because it brings the lure of saving us time and making us more efficient. Instead of using that saved time for relational depth and heart connection, we fill it with more busyness and tasks. In our quest for efficiency, we have become trained to jam everything we can into our schedules.
There is no room for margin. No room for space. This danger gets reflected in our lack of health and whole relationships. At the end of the day, we feel a false sense of accomplishment, while we crash into bed crying, “I am just too busy.”
I have been to a number of other countries and regions where technology is not as updated. Peru, Guatemala, Jamaica and Trinidad all had a different pace of living than what we have in the states. To the Western conditioned mind, customer service just isn’t fast enough for our liking. Scheduling is not as specific as we are accustomed.
I remember having church services in Jamaica that were scheduled at seven in the evening. This meant to me seven on the dot. To those in town, it meant somewhere around seven and whenever we can get everyone to arrive.
I was confronted with my fast paced life years ago when I sang at a wedding for a family of African descent. The participants were beautifully dressed in colorful native attire and there was great anticipation for the event.
The start time for the ceremony was quickly approaching and a few of the key family members had not arrived. As someone who is used to weddings starting late, I was prepared for things to be a little delayed. After about 30-45 past the planned starting time, however, my time efficient blood starting boiling. “I’ve got work to do today; things to prepare for. What’s going on here?”
Eventually the wedding began after about an hour of waiting around. As the ceremony began and I watched the proceedings, I noticed something very powerful that corrected my time-neurotic thinking. It was very evident amongst this family that they valued each other greatly. The honor for one another was higher than what I had seen in my life and culture.
My highest value at that wedding was the performance and schedule. Their highest value was relationship. Though some of the honored relatives were running late, there was no way any part of the ceremony was taking place without them.
Although, I still believe it is important to be on time and to have proper time management, I realized that my value for time superseded my value for relationships.
What about you? When people are late to a meeting you have scheduled, does it feel like a personal, inconsiderate statement against you? We look busy and productive, but we are becoming progressively shallower as the days go by. To top it off, the allure of multi-tasking is a total farce.
In fact, studies are revealing that multi-tasking is actually making us dumber and killing our mind’s capabilities. Spreading ourselves thin is lessening the power of neuroplasticity, our brain’s ability to form new and strong thoughts.
We were not created to have a bunch of things floating across the screen of our minds. We were meant to focus on only one thing in front of us. Though we give off the impression of intelligence and efficiency, we are actually becoming dumber.
It is a proven scientific fact that we cannot multi-task important things. When we constantly multitask, we are giving a bunch of areas just a portion of ourselves. This means we give all of ourselves to nothing.
The reality that must be recognized is you cannot give full attention to something when you are multi-tasking. The truth is that God made us relational beings, not efficient robotic machines destined to finish a bunch of tasks efficiently.