Thursday, October 08, 2009


I love it when I finish a blog, hit Spell-check, and the little green phrase appears at the top saying "No misspelled words". The single most inhibiting aspect of writing anything for public view is the fear that one misspelled word will steal the attention away from the point of the writing. It's happened plenty of times. I put together something that I think is very profound only to find out that one misspelled word or incorrect form of the word is all a reader sees. So imagine my surprise when I typed in the word "multitasking" and I got the happy green phrase telling me it was spelled correctly. I just knew it was a made-up word. Maybe it is, but because of the overwhelming usage of it, it's been put in the dictionary now. It's definitely not in my old Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language! Of course, my Mom did get me that in 1968. I guess no one was multitasking back then.
I've decided that I don't like it and I don't like feeling like I should like it, like everyone seems to think I should. Is that too many likes? When did multitasking become a virtue? Is it really a sign of productivity or a sign of widespread mediocrity? Hey, I think working fast is necessary - occasionally, like when a bunch of men meet to do volunteer manual labor and it turns into a demonstration of testosterone driven one-ups-manship. I'm even all in favor of doing more than one thing at a time, like watching Donna scramble eggs, fry bacon, and make waffles, and I'm still able to watch the News on TV.
No, what I'm talking about is split focus, half-attention, and half-hearted devotion to a task, and then gloating about ones ability to multitask. All multitasking does for me is create stress and cause me to be more concerned with finishing than with doing my best. I'm married to one of the most talented women in the world, but I've noticed that she always does her best when she can focus on one thing and doing it right. I know that is the best way for me to function. I don't even like having split excitement about several things at once. I tend to spend too much time figuring out how I can make time for each thing and feel the stress of maybe forgetting something.
Right now I'm excited about a number of things: my sermon, plans for a new class, writing lyrics for the 2010 play, (I have to write the script in December so the music has to be picked out now), we've got a new grand baby I'd love to see again, and we've got a trip to NY coming up in two weeks to see Jonathan and Holly and to see the new play he's in, I'm finishing up the work on our new porch, and on top of all that, it's bowhunting season in MO and IL and I've got tags for both states. If I were a multitasker, I would try to do everything at once. I can't and won't. I do one at a time, enjoying the moments I spend doing each or thinking about each, and then move on to the next one. Of course it helps to live by one single motto: When in doubt - go hunting.
Oops! Maybe I am a multitasker after all. Do you know how many sermons, blogs, class outlines, and ministry ideas I've worked on with my journal while in a tree stand? A lot! And I've been burned many times by deer walking right under me before I noticed them, while I was reading a book. Okay - if I am a multitasker, I'm not a very good one. I'm not even a good double-tasker. Is that a word yet?

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