A Bisl Torah

Can You Really Do It All?

Gary Keller, author of the best-selling book “What’s Your One Thing?” says we shouldn’t focus on achieving more than one task at a time. Multitasking just means that we are probably not giving 100% to each task we are managing.

It is hard advice for many of us. In attempting to wear several hats, how does one not multitask? Rather, he says, concentrate on one thing at a time and give that “one thing” your very all. Your undivided attention. Complete focus and care.

It’s an important lesson for all of us. Yes, we may be able to answer emails while on the conference call. It seems fine when we are both reading an article and engaging our children in a conversation about their day. Nobody said we can’t do it all. He just wonders—should we really be doing it all at the very same time?

Moreover, if we must choose one thing to work on, what comes first? What comes second? As we prioritize, Keller explains that it doesn’t mean something gets less time or less attention. It just means that one part of our life may need to take a backseat while something else inches towards the front.

Yitro, Moses’ father-in-law also questions Moses’ executive functioning. As Moses explains his system for meeting with the people and judging between issues and quarrels, Yitro responds, “The thing you are doing is not right; you will surely wear yourself out, and these people as well.” Rashi analogizes the idea of becoming weary to a leaf that falls of the vine. The leaf, having endured seasons of heat and frost, diminishes in strength, consequently dulls and tumbles to the ground.

How do we fight the weariness of life’s demands? How do prevent our tumbling to the ground?

Perhaps it is time to close the many windows on our computer, quiet the music, determine what needs to get done and what should come first. In doing so, we might even distinguish what isn’t necessary to do at all.

Can we do it all? I think so. But to do it all without tumbling like leaves to the ground? That takes a bit of reminding from Yitro and Keller.

Dear God, fill our hearts with the ability to focus on whom and what is most important. With plates full, grant us the wisdom to take on life’s challenges…one by one…with grace, patience, and love. Amen.

Shabbat Shalom.

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