Multitasking: The Art of Screwing up Several Things at Once

I have been on a mission to “catch up” at work, which is probably impossible given the volume of stuff that accumulates on my desk in a given day.  I have learned that I can only do one thing at a time well, so while I have been working my duff off at work, my house is a wreck, I haven’t exercised on a regular basis, and my writing has been nonexistent.  This laser beam focus is great for the one area of my life receiving all the attention, but it is wholly imbalanced and wreaks havoc on everything else.  So for the last two weeks, I have achieved breathing room at the office while simultaneously suffocating under a mountain of laundry and dust bunnies.

I’d like to say that I will eventually become a well-adjusted individual, devoting balanced amounts of time to marriage, family, friends, home, work, church, and hobbies.  It’s just not in my personality, though.  Balance is a struggle for everyone, and for me it’s usually an all-out war.  I have learned, however, that I have limits, and I have learned that I tend to overestimate what I can accomplish in a given time period.  I have learned that I can say no and that it’s okay to say no even when what I’m being asked to do is a worthy task.  I just haven’t learned to pace myself very well.

I have learned that Philippians 4:13 (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.) is not an appropriate rallying cry for multitasking.  While I can, and certainly do, do all things through Christ who gives me strength, I have learned that this has much more to do with the spiritual tasks I face every day: loving my neighbor even when I’d rather kick them in the shins, communicating said desire to kick my neighbor in the shins to God and asking him to change my desire, treating the people around me with the love and respect due every creation of God, surviving the day when I’d rather give in to depression or anger – these are the things that I can only do through Christ, whereas a trained monkey could do most of my to-do list.  The spiritual tasks are the ones that elevate us to reflections of the image of God, and they can only be accomplished well through the strength of Christ.

I tend to evaluate my success based on the things I have accomplished from my to-do list, but realizing that those things are really just trained monkey business helps me remember that I too easily get wrapped up in temporal goals while ignoring what’s truly important.  It also makes me laugh to imagine a monkey vacuuming my house – that would really get the dogs going.

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