Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Great Multi-Tasking Dilemma

This weekend I'm still trying to finish grading papers (I have twelve left); I'm also preparing the house for my son's Communion reception. This is a multi-layered task, as it also involves mowing the lawn, watering flowers, finding places for a lot of clutter, picking up food, etc. In addition, I'm supposed to use this weekend to put together some Madeline Mann publicity packets (a little at a time is my motto) and write some essays to apply for scholarship aid for my Master's Degree.

Sadly, it's always sort of like this--lots of balls in the air. My husband recently read an article which suggested that if people continued to multi-task with the ferocity that we Americans do now (especially American young people, I think), that human brains would eventually be capable of more multiple shallow thoughts, but less deep thought on any one issue. There's a frightening prediction. I try to remind myself of that when I sit making my endless lists of WHAT MUST BE DONE TODAY. :)

There's a wonderful story by the German writer Heinrich Boll called ACTION WILL BE TAKEN. It's a satire about people's tendency to multi-task and how ridiculous that really is. I think I'll have to re-read it today so that I don't go a little crazy. Or I can turn to the ever-wise words of Robert Frost, who advises in his poem "Take Something Like a Star" that one should find something large, permanent, miraculous to focus on when life gets out of control:

"So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far
We may take something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid."


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