We talk about the naked Florida man in the random section of the podcasts. We don’t transcribe that part, and believe me, you don’t want us to, but here’s the link to the article.
So I’ve been reading this book called The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, by cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin.
Anyone who has had wine with me (or a rum and root beer) will know eventually that cognitive neuroscience is my big regret—like it’s the date I went on and wanted a relationship with, but I had put so much time in with my BF political science that I just couldn’t dump him and swipe right on the cognitive neuroscience profile.
His book is full of cool stuff about how our brains are just really overwhelmed and wasting a lot of time dealing with things like 40,000 items in the grocery store or hundreds of emails and notifications and god-forbid texts starting before 7 a.m.
He suggests not trying to grab all the info all the time and be a little more chill because that’s what our brains need us to do. We have to focus on the important stuff, slow down, and work efficiently.
Daniel Levitin writes:
“Multitasking has been found to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline, which can overstimulate your brain and cause mental fog or scrambled thinking. Multitasking creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation. To make matters worse, the prefrontal cortex has a novelty bias, meaning that its attention can be easily hijacked by something new—the proverbial shiny objects”
Every time we make a decision, it uses up energy in our body via our brains. All those choices can distract us from the cool stuff sometimes.
So how do you make that better?
- Get rid of clutter. Clutter actually increases the stress hormone in women (cortisol) and seeing it while we’re trying to focus? It breaks us.
- Turn off the notifications on your email. He estimates that knowing and seeing those emails waiting decreases your working IQ by about 10 points. So avoid distractions.
- Find organization systems and categories that work for you. Give all your things a place and put it back in that place so that the hippocampus (a part of our brain) knows where it is. Think of how your kitchen is organized or your clothes. Forks go with other silverware, right? Socks probably are hanging out for socks. That’s a system.
- “Shift the burden of organizing from our brains to the external world,” Levitin writes. That’s why to-do lists on paper or digital are way better to have outside of our brains. We don’t want to have to retrieve things all the time. Levitin goes with “drop it, delegate it or defer it,” and if you can do something super quickly (like less than two minutes) just do it right away.
DOG TIP FOR LIFE
Don’t try to get a treat and poop and chase a squirrel all at once. Focus on one task at a time.
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License.
Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.
AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!
We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and YouTube on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook. But she also has extra cool content focused on writing tips here.
Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!