Take part in a series of experiments designed to help you find focus and discover the magic of clear thinking.
I’m the perfect candidate for this. J. constantly chides me on trying to multitask. I’ll do it in the kitchen and even when I’m trying to do lesson planning. Sometimes we sit in front of the TV and while we are trying to watch a show, I am playing on my iPad and checking my phone. I know it must look ridiculous. And it is ridiculous, because I know, for a fact, that multitasking isn’t really good for our brains, but I just feel like I can’t stop myself.
So as I listened to the episode of Note to Self explaining why we need to find our focus, I decided … let’s do this. Here are the five challenges and my reflections on them.
- Magical Day – Single Task: Initially, this was initially hard to avoid. I had to consciously catch myself as I was doing it. I realized I had a bad habit of interrupting myself, so I tried really hard just to switch back to the first task when I realized I was trying to do more than one thing.
- Magical Phone – Clean up your phone, turn off the notifications: Probably the best self-help tip I’ve had all week. I already keep the number of apps I have to a minimum, but I turned off my notifications for Cody App, Facebook Messenger and Instagram. From my lock screen on my iPad and my smartphone, I did not see any updates because they were all disabled. I began to realize how distracting it was for my eyes to constantly flit to the next ‘pop-up’.
- Magical Brain – Avoid memes or the biggest trend of the day: Super Bowl? Not my cup of tea anyway. This was not hard.
- Magical Connection – Talk to someone face-to-face or on the phone for at least 7 minutes: Talked to my mum on the phone!
- Magical Life – Write an #Infomantra: I decided I wanted to be more creative, so this week I finally pulled out the ball of yarn and a 3.0 crochet hook that I borrowed from my mom over the holidays and got started! And no, I’m not trying to make a triangle … I did end up pulling out all the rows until I got back to the ones that were not missing any single crochets!
I definitely felt much more clear-headed by the end of the week. I feel that I’m being bombarded with less information and that I need to set better boundaries when it comes to digital media use, and that FOMO* isn’t necessary and that you have to revel in JOMO*. It also helps to realize that when we are tired, we are most susceptible to wasting time by scrolling waaaay too long on Instagram or Twitter.
I also just want to say that – obviously – science research and public discourse about mental health is awesome!
If you’re interested in the challenge, definitely listen to the podcasts. I have probably listened to about 5-6 hours of it over the past week! Please share it with other people who you think might benefit.
*The two acronyms stand for ‘Fear of missing out’ and ‘Joy of missing out’. This comic from The Oatmeal explains it pretty succinctly.