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The Myth of Multitasking

April 2, 2018

 

Greg McKeown, author of the revolutionary book, Essentialism, wrote,

 

"You can multitask, but you can't multi-focus."

 

Are you focusing on what is most important? 

 

Or do you have too many tabs open on your computer and in your head?

 

Um, guilty.

 

While it's easy for most of us to chew gum and walk at the same time, or fold laundry while listening to a podcast, our brains aren't equipped to multitask several things at once that require real brainpower.

 

According to Forbes.com,

 

"Your brain just can’t take in and process two simultaneous, separate streams of information and encode them fully into short-term memory."

 

And if info doesn't make it to your short-term memory, 

 

it won't make it to long-term memory.

 

Where, you know, you can remember it.

 

If you can't remember something, what good is it to your brain?

 

So how do we solve this predicament of incessant mulitasking?

 

We deliberately decide what areas of our life merit our full time and attention, and we choose to more fully focus on what is most important.

 

McKay Christensen, managing director of alumni at BYU, calls this ability to fully focus,

 

centering.

 

I love that term.

 

Whatever your focus is, decide to it with all your heart, might, mind, energy, and strength.

 

Be wholehearted about it. 

 

No texting.

 

No social media.

 

No distractions.

 

Would you be more productive?

 

Would you learn more truth?

 

You can't multi-task important things.

 

Like gospel study.

 

Or Listening to your teenager.

 

Or spending one-on-one time with your spouse.

 

Decide to give the most important things your whole heart. 

 

Move in a more inspired direction. 

 

Now I'm not suggesting that you give up your smartphone and all forms of social media. 

 

Don't get me wrong. 

 

I'm instead inviting you not to be distracted by those things when you are centering on the most important people and goals in your life. 

 

But how can you center when you aren't good at it?

 

Practice!

 

Do your best to give your priority your full attention.

 

Resist the urge to scroll instagram when your second-grader is telling you about his day.

 

It will be uncomfortable at first, I promise.

 

Then slowly it will become habit.

 

It will help you lay hold on a more purposeful life.

 

What will you choose to center on today?

 

For more on centering, see this speech by McKay Christensen given at BYU. 

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