My girlfriend was snapping her fingers in front of my face saying, “Helllooooo, anybody home?” I got startled and said, “well that’s a strange way to begin a conversation”. She rolled her eyes, telling me, “I’ve been talking to you but, as usual, you’re brain is somewhere else”.
This happens a lot. My girlfriend insists it’s “brain fog” which tends to affect people when they reach my age. I disagree with that diagnosis. My brain isn’t slower these days, it’s just “somewhere else” at all times. It may seem that I’m slower at certain tasks, but the truth is that my brain is handling too many tasks at once.
If our brains were like a computer where we could open the “task manager” window, you would probably find a long list of apps running in the background. This is a common glitch in the mental operating systems of most entrepreneurs and creative types. Our day to day tasks are not performed optimally because the processing power of our brain is being divided.
As entrepreneurs we often take pride in juggling projects and working around the clock. The truth is the human brain is not designed for multitasking. It can perform incredible feats of strength when the entire ‘CPU’ is focused on one function at a time.
It’s difficult to accomplish meaningful work when too many ‘programs’ are running, when too many ‘windows’ are open on your desktop. Seemingly simple tasks ,like a one on one conversation, suffer when your mind is simultaneously conceiving new ideas and plans. Sure you can go through the motions of a conversation, but the person you’re talking to needs to know they are important to make the communication meaningful.
We like to believe the myth of the ‘work / life balance’, but our brains aren’t programmed to function that way. Balancing tasks is not efficient. If work is using half your power, then life is only running at 50% capacity. Dedicate 100% to each task at a time. When working, focus all the processing power of the mind on work. When interacting with others, shut down all other processes and give those around you 100% of your attention.
Meaningful focus, as effective as it is, does not come easily. Be mindful of the goal when your mind starts to wander, and it will begin to come naturally. Keep practicing. It's important to update your operating system regularly.