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TAKE OFF THAT CAPE!

Let me state upfront that I am a woman. I am also a wife, a mother, a business owner, a student, a friend, a daughter, a sister-in-law, a daughter-in-law ….

And whilst I work really hard on optimizing each of these roles and my performance of each, sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming. Feel familiar ?

 Well, this morning I had the honour of coaching a similar woman who whilst dog-tired was considering attending a 4 day training course this week, knowing that she had to prepare for a skills assessment presentation next week. Talk about stress, pressure and feeling overwhelmed !

 As a result of her session, she realized that the frame of thinking that precipitated ‘taking on more’ was a fear that she would ‘miss out’ if she didn’t do it all. On further investigation, she became conscious of the fact by taking it all on, she was actually missing out on more. The quality of her focus and engagement weakened as she tried to do it all.  And her performance in each of those separate areas may well have been compromised.

 The phenomenon of doing two tasks simultaneously, both of which require conscious thought is known as dual-task interference. As explained in the book “Your Brain at Work” (Rock, 2009) a scientist by the name of Harold Pashler showed that ‘when people do two cognitive tasks at once, … their cognitive capacity can drop from that of a Harvard MBA to that of an eight-year old.’

 And the result of splitting your focus is constant and intense physical and mental exhaustion, not to mention that your functioning and level of operation decrease.

 So, using the wise words my husband often utters “take off that (superhero) cape”, and remember that in order to do a great job, it’s better to do one thing at a time. Not only will your performance improve, but you’ll be less tired and overwhelmed too.

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Comments

  1. So true, thank you

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