In a society that puts efficiency on a pedestal, the more one can “multi-task” or juggle multiple things all at once, the more respect they will receive. These multi-taskers are often deemed more capable and talented.  However, research has demonstrated that the human brain is not designed to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. When one tries to fulfil multiple duties concurrently, the overall efficiency suffers despite the apparent success of the multi-tasker, and the end results will be worse than when one focuses on thinking, planning and handling one task at a time.

The more things we need to do, chances are, the greater our “worries” over these duties.  These “worries” can evolve into potential mental stress; thus, adding trouble and burden to our “many things”As a result, because we are unable to concentrate on things that demand our singular attention and focus, we fail to achieve the best outcome.  Indeed, this is a great revelation to many of us who aspire to accomplish “many things” or delight in accumulation.  Such tendency often makes it more difficult for us to accomplish what Jesus described as “greater works” in the Gospel of John, Chapter 14, Verse 12. (ref. John 14:12-14)

Therefore, if we have a tendency to worry about different things, but desire to accomplish many things, not only will our ability to concentrate suffer but also the results despite our efforts. 

You see, on top of this, when we pile on our many emotional baggage and the emotional wounds resulting from negligence of our interpersonal relationships, problems will begin to plague our everyday lives.  Under such circumstances, how could we remain hopeful in reclaiming our power of concentration to bear fruits? How could we take the initiative to choose “the better part” in this situation, as Jesus expected? (Luke 10:42)

When we don’t have time, energy, and concentration to centre ourselves on the Word of God and prayers in order to build a steady and close relationship with God, our hearts, like a fishing boat floundering in heavy waves and strong wind, cannot perceive the presence of our Lord Jesus; a solitary heart that flutters and drifts with the ebbs and flows of the world.  Our unstable emotional and mental states often lead to our failure to remain focused on our faith, family, and work.  This certainly has various but serious impacts on different aspects of our lives.  This vicious cycle will only persist and grow if we don’t do anything to escape.  This is what concerns  Jesus, and is the reason that Jesus grieves for Martha!

As St. Mother Teresa and many other saints remind us, the more things that need our attention, the greater our need to receive nourishment and strength through prayers. 

Therefore, the more time we devote to work, the more time we need to devote to prayer.  You may ask, how can this be accomplished?  How do I find time?  If we really think that we can’t do it, perhaps, it’s time to rethink and reorganize our work.

“If you’re too busy to pray…you’re too busy.”

— Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Similarly, when our hearts and minds are completely occupied by “many things” or “thoughts”, it is time for us to stop and choose “the better part”.

As discussed, our individual and collective obsession with efficiency has, indeed, a huge impact on us.  We need to be aware of our tendency of proving our self-worth by doing more things; a belief that only through work that we may be valued and respected by others. 

As long as we cannot extricate ourselves from such tendency and temptation of doing more things, we will remain slaves to our work and trapped in the vicious cycle of work efficiency.  As a result, our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being will be jeopardized!


Do you feel that you have become enslaved by your work due to your obsession with work efficiency? How has this tendency affected your life and relationships?

Is your work an obstacle that prevents you from praying and being close to God? In which areas of your life is God inviting you to make adjustments and to overcome?

Today’s Prayer

Almighty Abba Father, in the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ has promised us: “I will do whatever you ask in my name” (John 14:13). Now, I bow down before You and implore You to teach me how to cherish You over my work; value the time spent with You over the satisfaction that comes from work. Grant me a heart that hopes for You. Even when a mountain of work presses on me relentlessly, I am willing to put the work aside to be fully present in my encounter with You through prayer. For this I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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