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My morning

March 18, 2008

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Okay, how many of you reading this are multi taskers?

I am a multi tasker. Experience has taught me there are some things I can’t multi task – I need time just to focus without distraction.

Generally, the things I multi task, I do pretty well. However there are times when my brain goes into overload. A good sign my brain is in overload mode is when I do some rather idiot things when doing some things I can normally multi task.

I had one of those idiotic moments this morning.

Last night I had put a load of clothes in the dryer and a load of clothes in the washing machine and ran both. This morning I took the clean, dry clothes out of the dryer, place the washed, damp clothes from the washing machine into the dryer, put another load of clothes in the washer and started both appliances again. All while running through the mental list of things I need to do today.

Then I walked into my bedroom and became confused.

The load of clothes I had just put in the washer was sitting in a laundry basket in my room.

Then it dawned on me what happened. After I put the clothes from the washing machine into the dryer, I placed the clean load I had just taken out of the dryer back into the washing machine.

I couldn’t help but chuckle as I was confronted with the reality that I’m in overload mode. So amid all the demands of today, I am going to do my best NOT to multi task. If I can’t handle my laundry, I’m frightened to consider what else I might be an idiot about today!

In its article about multi tasking, Time magazine points out:

When people try to perform two or more related tasks either at the same time or alternating rapidly between them, errors go way up, and it takes far longer–often double the time or more–to get the jobs done than if they were done sequentially, says David E. Meyer, director of the Brain, Cognition and Action Laboratory at the University of Michigan: “The toll in terms of slowdown is extremely large–amazingly so.”

Other research shows the relationship between stimulation and performance forms a bell curve: a little stimulation–whether it’s coffee or a blaring soundtrack–can boost performance, but too much is stressful and causes a fall-off. In addition, the brain needs rest and recovery time to consolidate thoughts and memories.

I need some rest and recovery time! How about you?

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