My Crusade Against Multitasking

First off, it’s clear that I don’t practice what I’m about to preach. I have a ten-year-old son, failing parents who live across the country, an extroverted husband who juggles more than I do. Of course I multitask. Did I mention that I run an online magazine? I have to multitask every day, every hour, sometimes every minute.

"March of Leisure Time" poster, WPA; courtesy Library of Congress

But I’m sick of it. Not of the work I do or my writing or my family or friends or my son’s school or the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts, or my country or the universe. Yet I am tired of mentally skipping along the surface, of having my attention flutter about like a butterfly attracted by the brightest flower.

I’ve begun to question the shrugging acceptance of all the busyness in American life. Maybe it’s normal. Maybe Americans have always worried about falling behind or out of the loop—be it the technology loop, the college loop, the fancy car loop, the keeping-up-with-the-Jones’s loop.

But why should that feel normal? And is it good that it does?

Continue reading