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I'm Pam, and I'm glad you're here. I hope my thoughts on family, faith, and the flux of life help you laugh, fire you up or just make you think.

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Confessions of a multitasker

Morning Edition is running a series about new research on multitasking

NonchalanceNPR’s Jon Hamilton sums it up like this:

“Multitasking causes a kind of brownout in the brain. Meyer says all the lights go dim because there just isn’t enough power to go around.”

Yikes!

I don’t like hearing this.  Even if I kind of knew it was true. 

I like multitasking.  I like to consider myself a multitasking master.    I take pride in the fact that I can write this post while listening to music, brewing my coffee, getting my kids ready for school, eating breakfast, checking my email, reviewing today’s news, running the laundry, and even saying a quick prayer here and there. . . just like many of you

I don’t think I could get through the day without multitasking.  It’s necessary.  It makes me feel powerful.  Useful.  Creative.  Smart.  Efficient

Right? 

Maybe. . . not so much.   Science shows it isn’t really possible to focus our brains on mutliple things at once and do them all well. Avalanche

Especially when a ball drops, and everything comes tumbling down.  

Last week I had a few of those moments.  I was trying to keep multiple family demands, work assignments, and volunteer commitments afloat.  I should have let something go or asked for help so I could focus on the most important ones.  But instead, my pride took over, and balls started dropping.  It wasn’t a huge avalanche, but I realized things were not fully under my control.  

Kind of like a brownout.  A warning.  If I keep overloading the circuits, a major outage may be imminent. 

Playing with fire I believe these warnings serve a purpose.  No matter how skillfully I multitask , there are times when I need a little help.  A flicker of the lights to make me slow down, connect, and rely on others.  I ease back into community, where humans rely on one another.  And perhaps I clear a channel for those prayers to be really voiced and heard. 

What about you?    Have you had a brownout lately?  What helps you focus on what matters?

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2 comments to Confessions of a multitasker

  • Great photos!

    One of the downsides to having had a brain aneurysm is that I don’t multi-task very well anymore. It can be frustrating. Thanks for the reminder of what a brownout can mean. Slow down! Connect!

  • I can multi-task, but I’m learning to STOP multi-tasking anything that requires a concentrated thought process. (Notice I didn’t say “I’ve learned.”)

    It’s the interruptions that mess me up. It takes me too long to get back “in the zone” after an interruption. For me, multi-tasking can be a MAJOR killer of time management.

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