Hocus Pocus, Can You Focus?

focus

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Last Saturday’s post centered on multitasking being a myth. If you missed reading that post, there’s a link to it at the end of this article. I have since found two great quotes on multitasking; one is from last year and the other is a couple thousand years old.

“99 percent of us cannot multitask.” ― Daniel H. Pink, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

“To do two things at once is to do neither.” — Publilius Syrus (born in 85 BC)

For those of you who remain adamant that you are successful multitaskers, I hope you tried a test similar to the one mentioned in Molly Fletcher’s post. As a reminder, here’s what she said:

“Around this time, I was trying to defend my multitasking habits to a friend who is an expert about how people use energy for success, and she interrupted me.  “OK, Molly, try this,” she said, handing me a notecard.  “Write the alphabet while you give me directions from your house to your daughters’ school.” I got past A, B, and C, but after that, my brain was scrambled. By D, I was done.”

One of the scariest aspects of multitasking involves using multiple devices. (For instance, watching TV while working on your laptop) In research conducted by the University of Sussex, MRI brain scans were performed while people used multiple devices simultaneously. The theory used to be that cognitive impairment from multitasking was temporary, but this latest research proved otherwise. These multitaskers “had less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region responsible for empathy as well as cognitive and emotional control.”

The last point I’ll make is that multitasking can become addictive. We can get so accustomed to doing this, then moving to that, then switching to something else, that when we actually need to focus on one activity for an extended period, it can feel boring. We get twitchy. We need something else to do! Well, not really, but our brains have gotten used to the “excitement” of jumping around inside our heads.

Have you ever wondered why I place my links to additional reading, studies, videos, etc., that support my blog AT THE END of each article? I’m trying to help you pay attention; I’m not creating any distraction that will take you away from my post. It’s true:  I don’t want you to multitask by leaving my post and going to other websites when really, what you want to do is read and absorb my words.

I realize that doing this likely looks odd or non-techy if you compare my post to nearly everything else online, including the Forbes link below. Other writers insert links throughout an article to support various points. Remember the green light/red light analogy from last Saturday’s post? You stop reading the initial article when you click on a link. And that linked article likely has its own links, so you may end up forgetting about where you started.

Clicking on one link after the other is going down the proverbial “rabbit hole.”

We need to stop the mental running and just focus.

Compare the power of the sun to that of a laser used in surgery.

We are able to survive the sun’s tremendous energy effect on our planet because that energy is spread over our spherical earth with a total surface area of about 197 million square miles.

From MedlinePlus.gov, a laser is a light beam that can be focused on a very small area. The laser heats the cells in the area being treated until they “burst.”

Focus gets things done.

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Last Saturday’s Post Multitasking (is) for Dummies

Multitasking changes your brain

GE video called The Power of the Sun

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