Addicted to Multitasking

January 28, 2016

Addicted to Multitasking



I have a confession...I think I'm addicted to multitasking. It all started years ago, while in college I believe, or maybe even high school. I was told multitasking was a valuable asset, something potential employers look for, leading to an overall more productive life. And in today's competitive world, you have to do everything possible to get ahead. So I dove in, learning to do many things at once. It didn't take long to pick up and even less time to make it habitual. Productivity feels good, right? And isn't that what life is all about anyway -- maximum output?
Soon I was discontent if I wasn't multitasking. To focus singularly on any one thing was wasted potential, using only a portion of my abilities and time. What good was writing a paper if I couldn't also be checking emails? What good was answering emails if I couldn't also be listening to music? What good was listening to music unless I was choosing songs for my next video project? It even bled into my leisure time -- why not play video games while talking on the phone? Stimulate the eyes and ears. Few knew it, but I had become worth the occupancy of two people, all before graduating college.
Technology only helped in my obsession. Multiple tabs and windows. Faster computers and multi-processor phones. Email, Instagram, text messaging, Snapchat, Facebook -- I could communicate in multiple ways at the same time, all while sitting next to the people I was communicating with. I could shop for shoes and instant message, all while waiting for the newest viral video to load. It's as if we discovered the secret to slowing down time...but in real time. I can now live three lives with only one. What more could I ask for?
Fast forward several years to tonight, January 28th, 2016. While waiting for Netflix to load I look around frantically for something to occupy those fruitless 30 seconds. While brushing my teeth I decide turn on the computer so as not to sit with unoccupied hands while the little gray bar progresses at what feels like a snail's pace. While writing this blog I'm also working on editing a video, and while that's rendering I have a Word document open listing out all of the songs I want to record so I can plan on what to work on next. I guess little has changed since college, except that now I can only do more.
You can buy a smart phone for around $200, but I don't think that includes the cost of our patience. Not to mention the appreciation of silence or introspective thought in a quiet moment.
Sometimes I walk outside and am struck by the smell of fires wafting from the hundreds of chimneys in my neighborhood, reminding me of moments with my family around the fireplace in my childhood home. I see the line of tall palm trees silhouetted against the sun setting over the Pacific, lightly swaying from side to side in the ocean air. I can smell the warm sea breeze and am instantly brought back to my first few months in California, caught up in expectant feelings of hope I had as a green East Coaster coming to "make it" in the big city. Love, peace, hope...all wrapped up in one screen-less moment.
Now that's some multitasking I can appreciate.

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