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Can You Walk And Chew Gum At The Same Time?

A study at UCLA asked participants to sort index cards with various shapes on them. The researchers divided the participants into two groups:

  • Group 1 sorted their cards with no distractions.
  • Group 2 sorted their cards while listening to, and counting beeps.

The researchers found that the two groups sorted equally well. However, the first group remembered what they sorted better than the second group.

So, something suffers when we multi-task. Doesn’t common sense tell us the same thing?

So why do we all try to do so many things at once?
There are many reasons – because we think we can, we get distracted, we’re bored, maybe we’re really just procrastinating, or perhaps we think it’s a competitive advantage.

The problem is … it’s not productive, because we want to be effective AND efficient.

Multi-tasking can be costly
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that, even with the simplest of tasks, it takes time to mentally switch from one to the other. It may only take a second for your brain to catch up, which doesn’t sound like much. But how many times do we do this in a day? And that’s for the simplest of tasks – more complex tasks can take up to a minute!

Not to mention that, multi-tasking requires us to FOCUS on concentrating rather than ACTUALLY concentrating. It also boosts stress hormones in our brain. So, in the short run, we get less done. In the long run, it’s bad for us.

So are these studies saying that we should NEVER multi-task?

You’ll be happy to know that you can walk and chew gum at the same time, because you’re performing two tasks that have become automatic. You don’t have to think about it anymore!

Many people may argue that checking their e-mail or text messages has become second nature.

But there’s a bigg difference – there’s a second human being in the equation. For the communication to be effective, you have to understand what they said, and what they left unsaid. Then, and only then, can you convey an effective return message.

In other words, you have to THINK!

3 tips to break the addiction

  • Admit that it’s a problem.
    If you don’t see it as a problem, you can’t solve it. This is the first step.
  • Out of sight, out of mind.
    Keep one thing in front of you. Everything else should be filed away. If you don’t see it, you won’t be tempted. Reward yourself with something you enjoy AFTER you complete each task.
Tell us what you think about multi-tasking!
Share your bigg challenges! Offer your bigg solutions!
Leave us a Comment below!

Our bigg quote today is actually a definition. No one claims it, perhaps for a reason ….

mul•ti-task•ing (mŭl'tē-tăs'kĭng, -tī-) n.
Screwing up everything simultaneously.

So make sure you stay focused so you only screw up one thing at a time!

Next time, we’ll share an ancient Chinese secret to solve all of your problems. You’ll be amazed at how simple it is! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Happy Scum

By Dana Mancuso
Bigg Success Contributor
08-07-08

Life Skills

pm411_logo Have you ever had a disagreement about something you've heard? I often disagree with my husband about popular song lyrics. What he hears is close to the real words in most cases, but not always.

Sometimes what you hear is a direct result of what you've already heard. Sort of like expecting to get an apple from an apple tree. You've always gotten apples from the apple tree, so you aren't going to expect an orange to be growing there. You won't hear country music from the lips of rocker Bon Jovi. Or will you?

Back in high school, I was seated in a small group next to someone from my grade school. This boy had teased me in 5th and 6th grade. In fact, he had never spoken to me in any other manner than to tease me in my entire life.

So, when he spoke to me, not only was I surprised, but my brain turned on the teasing filter. Here's what I heard when he tapped my arm:

"Happy, Scum?"

What?

"Happy, Scum?"

Oh my god, he's calling me scum!

The sentence was repeated once more before I heard what he actually said, "can I HAVE a PIECE of GUM?"

My brain had already determined that anything coming from this guy's mouth was going to be negative at best, hurtful at worst–when all he wanted was some Dentyne. (I handed him the skuzziest looking piece of gum in the pack.)

I at least make an effort not to jump to conclusions. But my brain often does it for me before I can stop it. Sometimes I do it when reading an e-mail from a coworker. (She forgot a word in the sentence, accidentally changing its meaning.) Sometimes I do it when I get an odd look from someone (He doesn't have his contacts in so he is squinting a lot.) Everyone has heard the look before you leap cliché, but it applies so well to hearing in haste, as well as to acting in haste.

Next time you're about to turn on that filter, grab a piece of gum and chew it over a bit. 

Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.

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(Image by bruno-free)