I Need a Brain Defragger!!
Does this sound familiar?
You’re working. You’re thinking, typing, planning, talking, and eating . . . all at the same time. A friend, a family member, a person you care about deeply, comes to where you are and says,
“I’ve just cut off my finger! I’m bleeding all over the carpet!”
A full-two minutes later, you actually hear what was said. You stare blankly into space as you try to process the message.
â€œUm. Oh. Did you just say something about the carpet?â€
The message had to fight through the traffic jam on the neuropathways of your multitasking brain.
Multitasking is on its way out for me. Iâ€™ve suspected for sometime it was a major source of what made me tired and cranky.
“What?!!! Who cares what we’re having for dinner?!!”
Every new and stressful detail made me wish I had a defragmenter for my brain.
Multitasking didn’t get any more done. I was just doing more at the same time. I knew that doing many things at once is not efficient. Somehow I got sucked into the multitasking vortex, anyway.
Soon enough I thought I was developing an attention deficit. Truth is I was just fragmenting my brain.
Continuous Partial Attention
Thatâ€™s what itâ€™s called, Continuous Partial Attention â€” CPA. Keeping our eyes and ears alert to everything, always scanning the environment in case something we need might pop onto our radar â€” we use multiple screens. We check for multiple priorities.
Scanning is great when what weâ€™re doing is routine. Itâ€™s disastrous when a task requires reflection, concentration, or humanity.
“Why do you interrupt?!!! You take your life too seriously.”
We scan because of anxiety . . . we canâ€™t miss anything. Linda Stone described it in a Newsweek interview with Stephen Levy.
. . . thereâ€™s a problem in the workplace when the interruptions intrude on tasks that require real concentration or quiet reflection. And thereâ€™s an even bigger problem when our bubble of connectedness stretches to ensnare us no matter where we are. A live BlackBerry or even a switched-on mobile phone is an admission that your commitment to your current activity is as fickle as RenÃ©e Zellwegerâ€™s wedding vows. Your world turns into a never-ending cocktail party where youâ€™re always looking over your virtual shoulder for a better conversation partner. The anxiety is contagious . . .
I read that and I decided to make a change.
I cleared the traffic on the neuropathways of my brain. I became my own defragger. I do one thing at a time, and I get more things done and with fewer errors.
Iâ€™m breathing slower and liking myself better.
And now, when someone talks to me, they often get a human answer. I’m pretty proud of that.
Do you need to defragment your brain?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!!