Want to watch a full-gown woman totally freak out?
I didn’t think so. It is not pretty.
But it has been happening during the week between 1 and 3pm. You see at that point I have been working for at least 5- 8 hours straight. The guilt about other things I “should” be doing is starting to build up. My brain isn’t working as well since I have, or course, forgotten to eat again. My mornings are strong coffee, my computer, and then…MELTDOWN.
One of factors that feeds into my freak out is that I am multi-tasking. I do it all the time between a full-time job, teaching a 1,300 person MOOC, having individual students, and oh, did I mention planning a wedding? In the book “The End Of Absence” by Michael Harris, he writes about multitasking, “The brain itself is not, whatever we may like to believe a multitasking device. And that is where our problem begins. Your brain does a certain amount of parallel processing in order to synthesize auditory and visual information into a single understanding of the world around you, but the brain’s attention is itself only a spotlight, capable of shining on one thing at a time.” What Harris find out is that while the brain is able to switch focus back and forth, it takes a period of time to get back to the more serious, thoughtful work at hand. Harris quotes another mindfulness researcher, Tom Chatfield who states that, “According to internal research at Microsoft, for example, it took workers an average of a quarter of an hour to return to ‘serious mental tasks’ after replying to an email or text message.”
Ok, so as much as I would like to say that I typed that full paragraph in one go, I actually took two phone calls. I wanted to take the phone calls and connect with my loved ones but I also felt frustrated about being interrupted and getting off track.
Therein lies the epic conundrum. Writing about multitasking while multitasking and then having the extra guilt of being conscious that you just did it. MELTDOWN.
Part of the problem is being a perfectionist. Having high standards for myself and others. Taking on a little more than I think I can actually do as a challenge to myself. At night, I have been sleeping so deeply it is hard to wake up, as if my brain is trying to organize my hectic days, filing all of the various new information and pathways in their tidy places. It takes time, and more energy.
I have been writing on notecards every day as part of my stunt and hopefully I will have more ideas on how to overcome my harried multitasking without ending up in a puddle on my yoga mat wondering “what does it all mean?” and “why do I do this to myself?” But for now, I am going to go an meditate and give myself a full hour to just decompress from my morning. That way, in the afternoon I will have a refreshed mind to be able to tackle the large, deep issues again.