Stop the Stupidity!

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 at 1:02 PM | Category: Business, Life Tips, Meryl's Notes Blog 2 comments

football 300x230 Stop the Stupidity!I grew up playing all kinds of sports even football. The flag kind, but it was still football. You name it … I tried it at least once. Dang! How did you come up with hockey? In all fairness, hockey didn’t have many fans in Texas unless they were transplants. So youth hockey was nonexistent until the Stars moved to Dallas from Minnesota.

Because of sports, I developed a habit of exercising as a kid. Eventually, team sports faded and I relied on boring cardio machines and dumbbells to put the heart through the paces and keep the muscles from melting away. Really, I don’t mind because it’s guilt-free TV time.

Workout time is around the 1 – 2 pm zone. The time works great in that it provides the boost I need to end the workday strong yet early enough to finish before my youngest comes home from work at the company called school.

The stairmaster has a bent book holder that holds water and a remote without them falling off. (Thanks, kids!) It’s easy to access the remote as I often do. Not just to crack through the commercials but also to back up a whole conversation that I failed to grasp. Sometimes I can’t help think about client work that my eyes glaze while reading the closed-captions on the TV. I read the words, but the brain doesn’t compute that I lose track of the story.

Study says …

It’s easy to see why multitasking is dangerous when you’re driving a car and talking on a hands-free phone. And more so with texting and driving. Then how come many people still do it? According to Multitasking Is Making You Stupid:

“A study done at the University of London found that constant emailing and text-messaging reduces mental capability by an average of 10 points on an IQ test. It was five points for women, and fifteen points for men. This effect is similar to missing a night’s sleep. For men, it’s around three times more than the effect of smoking cannabis. While this fact might make an interesting dinner party topic, it’s really not that amusing that one of the most common ‘productivity tools’ can make one as dumb as a stoner.”

Whoa.

In my situation and at the office, multitasking is harmless … mostly. Staying focused on one thing — not talking and emailing, not chatting and working on a document or any other dual-activity — you do the task more effectively. The little interruptions like email notifications can disrupt the harmony of your focus.

As I write this, I’ve shut out everything around me. I’ve turned off my cochlear implant because one of the neighbors has construction going on. The hammering is distracting. My second monitor is blank so I’m less tempted to look at something like Gmail or Twitter.

When something else gnaws on your mind, it pulls away your focus on whatever task you’re doing. Bet many of you can relate to Avil Beckford‘s situation. I can. “I started to read a book, but I have been distracted, and to be honest, I cannot focus on the story,” Avil wrote. “The book is not boring, but for a few days, my attention has to be placed elsewhere.”

Stop the stupid-fying!

So how do you stop multitasking? Time Management Ninja lists eight ways:

  1. Do one thing at a time. (You’re just reading this, right? Nothing else?)
  2. Be present. (See comment in #1.)
  3. Finish before you start. (A challenge for … ooh … shiny.)
  4. Don’t let the small tasks interrupt the big ones. (Are you looking at your inbox thinking about answering the quick email?)
  5. Put down the tech. (The mouse or keyboard is OK, so you can scroll down.)
  6. Clean your workspace. (Mine is clean 98 percent of the time. A cluttered space always feels like a cluttered mind.)
  7. Make an appointment with your work. (My husband has to do this otherwise he’d be in meetings 10 hours straight.)
  8. Eliminate interruptions. (Email notifications, for example.)

Multitasking is OK when you’re using less brain power. That’s why I love to fold laundry. It means more guilt-free TV! So what if a shirt isn’t crease-free because of yet another jaw-dropping moment on “Scandal”?

When do you multitask? How do you avoid it when you need to focus?

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