Bart Rademaker, MD
Are you typically in a state of overwhelmed and distraction – then you probably have a case of ” severe modern life”. Busy and multi-tasking are currently the badges of honor. Having no leisure time is now considered the path to success – because if you are busy that means you will get it all, one day!
Truth is more people are complaining of less leisure time when in fact the average number of hours worked has not changed over the last 60 years. What has changed is that the information highway is dumping more on us than we can handle. As a result we try to multi task to get it all done. This gives us the impression that we are doing more. In fact our time is so fragmented we are even less efficient or according to some – dumber. The byproduct of all this overwhelms, our brain shrinks.
Overwhelm is not healthy or productive. Multi-tasking does not work and can be dangerous. Studies show that reaction times whilst driving and on the cell phone mimic that of exceeding the legal limit of alcohol in the blood.
So what to do:
Realize that single tasking vs multi-tasking will be more effective and fulfilling. Focus on one thing at a time and have the satisfaction that it is completed and done well on time.
Information overload in your head is distracting and uses too much energy. Write down your problems, you’re to dos, your ideas. Capture them on paper and revisit them whenever it is needed.
Do things only once – decide what is important and what is not and do the task once rather than putting it aside to do later – this just occupies your brain space and is distracting.
Develop routines or habits where you commit to specific activities that need to be done so you don’t constantly have to decide about them. Plan your time to do specific things rather than multiple ones.
Finally, celebrate success and schedule leisure time dedicated solely to leisure.