Around Concord, Fall 2018

Page 22





Anxious &


One foot in front of the other. One step at a time. You walk this way, but do you live this way? In this world of constantly changing demands and deadlines, multitasking is likely your mode of operation. How could it not be when there are so many things competing for your time and attention? But, alas, how’s that working for you? Are you truly able to complete those important priorities in a way that leaves you feeling satisfied and accomplished? Or is there part of you that’s crossing your fingers, hoping you got enough of it right and didn’t miss anything significant? And when you’re multitasking, how are your brain and body feeling in that endless mix of activity? Disheveled, confused, anxious, activated, overloaded? In my former corporate days, I thought I was the queen of multitasking. I even had an invisible gold crown I used to wear. The sheer color of the crown should have told me

something was off—I have a serious aversion to the color gold—but I was too busy buzzing around mastering all my tasks . . . or so I thought. You see, the brain can’t go in a million different directions. While it can take in millions of bits of information every second—about 40 million—it can only process 50 of those. A measly 50. That’s a lot of information going unnoticed. And when you’re zipping around, quickly whipping your attention from one thing to the other, everything gets blurrier and more random. There are lots of studies out there proving that multitasking doesn’t work. I’ll skip the details here (feel free to Google) and jump right ahead to one strategy that does work—an acronym I’ve come up with that’s a great reminder to stay present with the task at hand: STEP, or Single Task Enhances Productivity. Just like taking one step when you walk, STEP when you set out to accomplish the day’s goals. Pay attention with intention to the one thing or person in front of you. Ask yourself: 1. What’s really here? 2. What am I doing with it? 3. What is needed? With your attention focused, you stay tuned in and present, and remain

While it can take in millions of bits of information every second—about 40 million—it can only process 50 of those.


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