“I need the uh, um, I mean I found the… uh, what is wrong with me?! Why can’t I remember what I was going to say and why I came in this room to say it?” My husband just chuckled because he’s used to this by now.
But, I am not used to this yet! I feel like my brain goes in slow motion and words have to be coaxed out of me like a reluctant puppy when the car parks at the vet.
Is this a symptom of aging? Or maybe it’s just the result of an overworked brain? I just can’t multi-task like I used to!
I think my brain has too many windows open… and yours may too.
When your phone or computer has too many apps running — when there are too many windows open, you know what happens, right? It slows down because it’s trying to process all that info at once. You can tap and scroll and right click and tap and scream at the thing and it just will not — can’t — do all the tasks you want it to as quickly as you need it to.
The same thing happens to us too when we have too many “windows” open for too long!
Manic multi-tasking puts an awful strain on our brains!
This strain is even proven by research! Glenn Wilson (London’s Gresham College) discovered that our IQ drops as much as 10 points when we multitask. The impact of a 10-point drop in our IQ is the impact you feel when you lose a night of sleep. Fuzzy, slow, forgetful… oh brother, no wonder I can’t find my nouns when I need them!
And, not only do we feel the brunt in our inability to think, remember and process info, we take a hit physically when we have too many windows open for too long. When our brains shift attention from one activity to another it sucks out all our oxygenated glucose, which is the fuel that helps us focus. When that happens, we can feel disoriented and burned out. And, you know what most of us do when we feel that way, right? We run to the worst refueling station ever — sugar! Caffeine! Both! And, then the sugar crash and caffeine let-down happen and we are back where we started.
So, what should we do?
1. Finish one thing before starting another
I have started telling my people when they ask me to do something, “Not now. Ask me later.” Oh girl, this is hard for me because I am a recovering people-pleaser! I used to say yes to just about everything and then try to add that into what I was already doing. But, it adds to my stress and reduces my effectiveness if I just keep opening window after window.
Sometimes, we need to wear blinders. This means we don’t look to the left or to the right, but straight ahead. One thing at a time, sweet sister.
2. Close a few windows
We keep all our brain windows open, we multi-task, because we think we will get more done, or we think it is the only way to get everything done. But, researchers have also found that our productivity plummets when we have too many windows open.
Maybe that’s because our focus is on too many places all at once so nothing gets 100% of our attention.
Sometimes you need to have several windows open at once. You know, do the laundry while returning phone calls. It’s just practical, and doable, to multi-task. Maybe you need to determine how many windows you can keep open at once? That is what I have had to do.
If I can open just a couple of windows at a time, I manage just fine. I can deal with email while I check the laundry. When the emails are answered and the laundry is done, I can clean the bathroom and write the blog. Everybody has different operating systems just like our phones! So, just because your friend’s phone can speed through applications with a ton of windows open doesn’t mean that yours can. Mine can’t anymore!
“Teach us to number our days, (and windows!) that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
Where does this message meet you? Need to close some windows? Share with us in the comments below.