Are you a "multi-tasker"? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you try to deepen your prayer and meditation.
In the modern world, multi-tasking is a way of life. While you read this article, you may also be watching TV, talking on the phone, or have about a dozen other open windows/apps that are giving you notifications every few seconds.
We try to “do it all” throughout the day, and while we may feel accomplished for all the things we did, multi-tasking can have a negative effect on our meditation.
For many people, the greatest obstacle to prayer is being distracted by something else. It is tempting to quit praying each day at the point when we find ourselves thinking about our grocery list or a YouTube video we want to look up.
How can we combat these distractions?
One way to reduce these distractions during our prayer is to create a habit of doing one task at a time.
The problem with too much multi-tasking is that we end up doing a lot of activities poorly instead of one activity perfectly. Our attention gets spread out and our mind becomes frazzled. It should come as no surprise that when we sit down for prayer, we can’t help but try to multi-task and think about a million different things at once.
What does it mean to be “perfect”?
Perhaps we should work toward reducing our habit of multi-tasking and only try instead to focus on one activity at a time.
This isn’t something we can master overnight, but it is a habit we can acquire through hard work and keeping our focus in check.
A practical suggestion would be to use our imagination during prayer, such as picturing Jesus at our side. When we do that, our mind is engaged and less likely to be lulled by a prayer routine that feels monotonous.
Not all multi-tasking is bad, but when we spend most of our day trying to do everything at once, it will inevitably impact our prayer life. Try practicing at least 15 minutes of quiet prayer each day detached from all electronics. Slowly we will see an improvement in our attention and, with God’s help, stay focused on him.