How to Stop Multi-Tasking and
Begin to Live Your Life!
“Unfortunately, the human mind cannot, in fact, multi-task without drastically reducing the quality of our processing. Brain activation for listening is cut in half if the person is trying to process visual input at the same time. A recent study at The British Institute of Psychiatry showed that checking your email while performing another creative task decreases your IQ in the moment 10 points. That is the equivalent of not sleeping for 36 hours-more than twice the impact of smoking marijuana.”
Have you ever been around a little child who is engaged in what she or he is doing? The focus is laser-like. Our modern world trains that out of us so it’s up to us to put it back.
The above quote was excerpted from a beautiful blog post by Timothy Ferris, best-selling author of The 4-hour Work Week. The Multitasking Virus and the End of Learning (part 1)
Quick start to feel on top of it all:
You’ll need a routine that works for you daily: one you can do every day to create the persistence needed to build a great life. Here are some suggestions:
1 Create Routines that Support You. We are creatures of routine…create routines that strengthen you. In particular: how you start your day sets the tone. Get up, have a big drink of fresh water (add some lemon is you can), exercise (for a fresh mind and freed emotional body), sit in silence for 5-20 minutes, eat a healthy breakfast, read something renewing and you’ll be excited to live your best life.
2 Design Your Space to Make Your Routine Easy. Notice how you enter your space and what you are doing or need to do…when you enter your home do you have a “drop zone” for keys, coats, shoes and mobile phone chargers, etc. Don’t be afraid to move things around to serve your body’s needs, as in the Time-Motion Studies of the early 20th century. A place for everything, and where you need it will help your routine solidify and support you.
3 Train others to respect your focus: Close your office door, face in a way that allows you to avoid being interrupted by flashes of traffic so you can focus only on the task at hand, or announce what you are doing “I am going to focus on this for the next hour, I’ll get back to you after that.” Have a ready self-protecting expectation like, “I only have a few minutes, I am happy to talk longer after 4:30.” Other ways: only check email or social media 2-3 time a day. Notify everyone that you check email at 8:30, 11:30 and 4:30. They will adapt and you’ll have cleared up space to do the important things in your world. In a work cubicle? Have a sign ready: “Thank you for your consideration, I’ll be available after 4:00 and able to check email then too.”
4 Pulse: Plan to focus for spans of 45 to 90 uninterrupted minutes; focus and then relax, take a break, move, walk around. Clutter, email, distractions, others interrupting you. Based on our bodies’ ultradium rhythm our natural cycle is a rhythm that occurs every two hours. (This is the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s transition of energy from organ system to organ system. Every two hours is associate with vital energy nourishing a particular ‘organ system’ of the body.) The ability to have clean focus requires clean breaks: drop it, go outside, don’t think about it and then return refreshed.
5 Renew yourself. Move, enjoy some Nature on your break, breathe some fresh air, drink plenty of clean, nourishing water. Very important: take extended time off, at least 3 nights and 2 full days a week and at least 1-2 weeks a quarter. It’s vital and you’ll be more productive, create more value in your life and more value for those around you. And for your sake, get enough sleep.
Your spaces support or distract you
If your home and office do not create a background for your life that is supportive, you need to revise and learn to make simple Shifts to better succeed at everything.
Where to start?
1 Start where you are and Breathe. One or two (I find 3 works best) few belly breaths, through your nose, will center you, pause your brain’s conflict center and expand your sense of time and ability.
2 Clear the space. Choose to clear one small space today…one counter space, one drawer, one table. Throw away anything that you haven’t used in 60 days, wipe the counter with fresh water and lemon, perhaps a bit of lavender or citrus essential oil, then stand back and smile.
3 SHIFT soon to be Released: be notified of the release of my long-awaited book: SHIFT. This science-backed design secrets of how to use design to shift behavior easily to allow the body, mind, spirit, relationships thrive.
You can also download the guide to 5 Simple Shifts to Thrive While Working at Home, or take the online course to learn to design for your beautiful life. We always start where you are!
Wishing you clarity and joy,