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Multitasking is a Myth

Wednesday, March 14, 2007
You Can Learn to Focus Your Attention!
No matter how hectic your day, you must find time—even if only a few minutes—to connect with yourself in the present moment; to find moments of self-nourishment in each day.
I have learned to enjoy the process of doing the laundry, making the bed, as well as sitting peacefully on my balcony enjoying views of the mountains, as these are actions that, when I choose to do them mindfully, allow me to experience moments of freedom from my overactive, thinking mind.
It’s not worth it to live your life totally in the fast lane. I am aware that the fast lane can be more efficient and effective at times, but without time to breathe and connect with what’s real in your life—yourself and the people you love—you’ll never enjoy the beauty in the world. In the end, you’ll hold yourself back by trying to get ahead through haste.
Take a Breather (the myth of multi-tasking)
If your tendency is to multitask—household chores, talking on the phone while checking e-mail—acknowledge this tendency.
The reality is that there is no such thing as multi-tasking. The brain cannot effectively think about more than one thing at a time and by asking your brain to do this, you are simply diminishing your ability to attend to anything well.
I really think multi-tasking is a myth. If you are speaking to someone on the telephone and simultaneously checking your e-mail or making a shopping list, the person on the other end of the phone is aware that they don’t have your full attention. Apart from the possible resentment they may feel toward this, there is also the chance that you are missing some nuance of what they are trying to tell you.
You may be able to read a book while on a stationary bicycle, but think about it—are you not reading the book for the purpose of taking your attention away from the monotony of the exercise?
Give yourself permission to connect with yourself in this moment; nothing is more important! Give yourself a break. Stop the cycle. Take a couple of minutes for a Breather:
Stop what you are doing.
Look at your surroundings—as your mind clears, your eyes see more!
Listen to yourself breathing—as you inhale and exhale listen to your breath going in and out your nose.
Experience a moment of relief from your thinking mind.
Now, decide what one thing you will focus on, and allow yourself the freedom to fully experience and enjoy this one thing: time with your partner or child, sitting in your favorite chair to relax, meditation, gardening, or even the laundry and dishes.
As you improve your ability to focus your attention on one task at a time, when you have multiple tasks requiring your attention you will find that you are able to shift your attention to the next task. With practice you can learn to do this ‘shifting’ effectively and efficiently—then people will say about you—wow, she is really good at multi-tasking!
News from Dr. A:
I want to share with you my latest tool that I have been using in my office and at my Performance Clinics to help people enhance their focus and attention—Neurofeedback (NFB). I call it video games for professionals.
I use NFB to train the brain. It’s like taking your brain to the gym! Through video games, my clients are exercising and training brainwave patterns to improve focus while the body remains relaxed and balanced.
The use of such advanced feedback technology is allowing me to accelerate the process of learning for my clients. (Now, for those of you who prefer not to be hooked up to technology—Snap Out Of It Now! will be out soon!
I place sensors on the head of my clients—everyone from CEOs to athletes–and they play video games. I monitor their progress on a separate computer. Playing the games strengthens and conditions the brain in certain areas—the brain becomes more flexible so it knows how to perform each task best.
One of my clients, Kathy, is an ‘over-analyzer.’ Her thinking constantly gets in the way of her golf game. She’s discovering that after three weeks of mental training using NFB, all she has to do is take two to three deep breaths and she’s able to stop her overactive thinking.
This is possible because we are creating new neuronal pathways in the brain so that it’s easier for her to shift mental states—from analyzing her last shot to focusing on the ball in front of her—in the middle of a golf game.
Kathy has learned to shift her focus from her thinking to her breathing and breathe her way out of incessant thinking—not only in her golf game, but also in the middle of the night, when she also experiences overactive thinking. By focusing on her breathing, she’s able to go right back to sleep. Her golf handicap has gone from 15 to10, and her sleeping has gone from 5 to 7 hours a night. How cool is that?
I am really excited about the potential with this new tool. NFB may be the solution to the problem of the pervasive use of performance enhancing drugs in athletics.
Go Beyond Breathing…
You don’t necessarily need to be attached to the NFB machine to learn the importance of breathing.
Check out my newest program Beyond Breathing - Key One for Elite Athletic Performance! Now just $14.95 (book CD) or $9.97 to download an MP3 file.
Do you practice what it takes to be a peak performer?
Read my Ten keys to Performance Excellence article and find out!

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