Can You Multitask and Smell the Roses?

I am grateful for time saving devices. I love my laptop. I remember the days of typewriters, messy corrections and copies and typewriter keys getting stuck in midair. My fingers could not fly on that old typewriter like they can on my laptop. What takes minutes now used to occupy hours.

Before cell phones, you had to be in the house in order to get an expected call. Sometimes that meant staying at home when you really needed to be somewhere else. Now that is not a problem. However, it also means that you are accessible everywhere at any time. Some people are unable to turn their phones off or leave them behind – just in case.

Some restaurants are now rewarding customers with a discount on their meal if they will check their cellphones at the door. It may be that all the time, effort and money the owners have spent to create a certain ambiance for their clients was going to waste because many of their customers never noticed.
The wonders of modern technology were supposed to make our lives easier and in many ways, they did. However, even though we are more efficient in many ways, the workload has not decreased. It seems that we are now all in a mad race to accomplish more – and more – and more.

Most of us try to do several things at once. Certainly, there are times when that can be successfully accomplished. What comes to my mind, however, is my attempt to carry groceries in from the car while talking on the telephone at the same time. What was supposed to be a time saver became just the opposite when I dropped a grocery bag full of jams and oils. I not only had to clean up a huge mess, but also lost the products and money in the process – not quite what I had in mind.

“Jack of all trades and master of none” in a positive sense describes someone who was competent in many areas, but not expert in any particular skill. It now seems that expression can be used of practically all of us. We are doing too many things to do any of them well. That was the finding of a 2009 Stanford University study on multitasking. The results showed that heavy multitaskers actually lost their mental edge. Trying to do too many things at once had the effect of their being good at nothing. The study’s author said, “We kept looking for what they’re better at, and we didn’t find it.”
Thinking back on my use of the old manual typewriter, I remember there were fewer distractions. I was never interrupted by email, SKYPE, or Facebook. There has been a renewed interest in old manual typewriters for this very reason. It is one way to turn off the background noise of our busy worlds and just write.

I have also noticed another trend. There are several blogs with “stop and smell the roses” as a417px-An_elegant_lady_smelling_roses_by_Hendrik_Jacobus_Scholten_(1824-1907) theme. In reading through these blogs, I discovered that many of the bloggers were forced to slow down and discover the beauty of what was around them.
Balance is the key. We need to be productive, work and accomplish the tasks assigned us. However, juggling work, home, church, exercise, meals and everything else can lead to frustration, leaving no time for fun or rest. In the process, if we miss out on the beauty of God’s world, what have we really accomplished? In our rush, we may trip over some of our greatest blessings.

How can we stop and smell the roses if we rush right past them?

God…who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).


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