We all multitask. We check our emails while eating, talk on the phone while driving, etc. But neuroscience has been telling us for some time that our brains are designed to focus at one thing at a time. I often praise myself for being a multitasking master but I know it’s not the way we should operate. MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller noted that we are “not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.” And the cost for me this time was an epic fall from treadmill. It was painful and embarrassing. I simply moved my phone from the right bottle holder to the left. It was probably a 2 second task and it sent me tumbling down. The treadmill only took a few seconds to stop but it felt like an eternity. I was in all fours while the machine was running and the sandpaper-like belt scraped my knees – over and over – until I eventually jumped back and out of the machine. Painful. Embarrassing. Stupid.
I’m promising myself to resist the temptation of multitasking. I already failed miserably while preparing a dinner party last night. But today it was a bit better – one thing at a time – although it’s a Sunday and I haven’t really done much. Wish me luck.