Most of us take pride in how well we multi task and juggle multiple things at the same time. We must, if we expect to meet the expectations of our bosses, teachers, and friends. That’s not counting the additional work of the spouse or parent and all the normal daily stresses that come along with it. We live in a world that sends information to us 24/7 in every way imaginable, often simultaneously.
The brain is not set up to process information like this; our brain is not designed to multi task. Our brain is designed to focus on one thing at a time, whatever it decides is the most important, and that is usually what is most closely related to our basic survival. When you ask the brain to focus on more than one task at a time, it must switch between tasks.
For example, if you are driving, talking on your cell, looking at your GPS for directions, and consequently you miss the exit, it is because your brain is switching back and forth, attending to each activity. There is a lag time when switching between different tasks, although he would hardly notice it.
Too much information too quickly can lead to a brain freeze. The feeling that you have too much information to process is a common occurrence, and the term “information fatigue” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2009. We are starting to realize that information overload leaves us frustrated and emotionally depleted. The term “Brain fart” already has its own Wikipedia page.
When we are in this fatigued state, we can make decisions that we might later regret. By switching between so many stimuli, we leave ourselves depleted and distracted, the exact opposite of the state in which to make best decisions. When our brain is being bombarded with information, it tends to favor ease over accuracy. Do you think a quick decision is the best decision?
There are many things you can do to improve your brain functioning, but here are 3 simple suggestions to think about: 1) Limit the amount of information your brain receives at one time. 2) Focus on one task at a time. 3) Give your brain time and space to integrate information and make the connections.
Take care of your brain.