Anxiety, Focus and Multi-tasking.

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My brain is a simple thing. Like my computer, when there are too many tabs open at one time, it starts having a crisis, slows down and invariably simply stops working at all. Now, in the knowledge that I should probably take it to a computer hospital, I wonder if perhaps my brain needs a bit of a looking at too.

The reason I say this is because I cannot multi-task. Too many things going on up there in that fluffy cotton wool between my ears and it all starts unravelling. Badly. Like a dozen balls of multi-coloured wires being tangled up together, if things start getting too complicated, there is a sudden fizzing, a loud explosion and boom! It’s all over … A crisis is here. It happens very easily, relatively often, but is a bit of a bugger to sort out.

The Colonel however works best when doing a minimum of three things at once, and frankly the more the merrier. Concurrent activity he calls it. I have been known to just stare at him, baffled and bewildered as to how he does it. Perhaps that’s why he is good at his job and I don’t appear to even have a job. Must resolve that too …

However, I am now addressing this, ‘issue’. (Not the staring one, or the jobless one, the inability to multi-task one). So far, without much success.

I’m embarrassed to admit how very simply I tested myself yesterday morning and the outcome, but here goes …

Filling up the watering can in the kitchen sink whilst emptying the dishwasher.

You see, I read somewhere the other day that to help deter that awful habit, ‘procrastination’, the answer is, that if you see a job that will take less than one minute to do, then you must start it within a minute. Well I think that’s what it said. Brilliant! But perhaps only one task at a time. This is fine for most people, but not for the non-multi-taskers. The single-taskers like myself may find it problematic.

So, back to the watering can …. I’m putting things away, the water is filling the can, the cupboard doors are all open, I can feel the stress (yes really) starting to filter into my brain and the balls of wire up there amongst the cotton wool starting to fizzle, but to put away the frying pan means taking out several other pans so that it will not just fit in, but also the door will close. Fizzle, fizzle goes my brain …. The sound of water is suddenly louder and looking over my shoulder with a wok in one hand, the colander in another and the frying pan under my arm I see a steady, heavy fountain of water pouring out of the watering can’s spout, over the edge of the sink and into the open cupboard below, and yup, into the tub where the three-in-one multicoloured clothes washing pods live.

Boom!!

Brain has exploded …. much yelping, dropping of woks and pans and strangely my immediate reaction was not to turn off the tap, but to put the colander under the steady stream of water … we now have a version of the Water Fountains at Versailles.

Presumably I don’t need to describe the bubbly mess that I single-handedly created. Suffice to say however that those cute little squidgy little pods of blue and green designed to keep your clothes super clean, dissolve in cold water very quickly. Nine ruptured immediately, five stuck together and the remaining three are currently still drying on kitchen roll (stuck of course to the paper).

The laundry basket is however empty and all the sheets and towels have been washed too, completely unnecessarily of course, but just so as to use up the washing liquid on the floor, the sink, the side, and my shoes … Yes, everything is sparkly clean.

However, do not fear fellow single-taskers, for I have found there is an upside to all of this … if I am completely focused on just one task, not only do I tend to do it well, although I can become quite obsessed (tennis, now cycling) and take it to the extreme, it does mean that I simply cannot think about anything else whilst I am doing it. As in, I cannot think about anything else negative or otherwise whilst doing this activity. So Betty (the demon depressive) is firmly locked in the shed and shackled to the garden roller with duck-tape on her mouth so to speak.

So for all my single-taskers out there, if indeed I am not alone, there is hope for us all. Whilst we may not be able to fill a watering can and empty the dishwasher, we can do one better … We can get all the washing done and clean the kitchen floor too. Have hope!

Katie xx

Can you multi-task?? If so, don’t reply … ! 😉

62 thoughts on “Anxiety, Focus and Multi-tasking.”

  1. Brilliantly funny as always.

    I used to be able to multi-task because I had to. It takes a toll, mentally, in the long term. Now I get seriously thrown out of kilter if I am interrupted and my train of thought is derailed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah! Aha! I was just talking to Katie about you. I was telling her that I haven’t laughed so much at a blog since your posts on the Bus Diaries. (and they still make me chuckle when I imagine you stroking that loaf with a serious face). I’m not surprised I found you on here because Katie is hilarious and so are you. Thank you both for helping to make my day brighter with your fantastic blogs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes he is clever, especially in being able to prevent people from sitting next to him on the bus! 🙂 But you are clever too because it is a real skill to talk about something so serious and still make the reader chuckle to bits 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  2. “The reason I say this is because I cannot multi-task.” – OK? so, we have to break this unhealthy myth through for once and for all. The human brain, no matter what an incredibly capable computing device it might be, isn’t designed by nature for true multitasking. Especially not for long term. Also science agreed once on this. Because the brain cannot fully focus when multitasking, people take longer to complete tasks and are predisposed to error. Multitasking is also thus a time waster. Greatly.

    “My brain is a simple thing. Like my computer, when there are too many tabs open at one time, it starts having a crisis, slows down and invariably simply stops working at all. “- Windows, anyone? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, so you follow Katie too! Good one. I cannot believe I have only just stumbled across this blog. Yours is great too and I am looking forward to perusing more of your posts. This is a fantastic community isn’t it? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I used to do simple multi-tasking and can still do. Like fill the water container, wash dishes and put away clothes.

    As for serious tasks you have to focus on them one at a time it is impossible to do many at once. It taks clarity of thought and effort to do. Impossible to multi-task all the time. If people say they do I am sure they are not doing a good job on any of the tasks.

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  4. I had a similarly strange reaction when I saw one of the pipes connecting the laundry machine while it was in cleaning cycle had burst and caused water to overflow all over the floor. Instead of pulling the cord to force the machine into off mode and put an instant stop to the freefalling water, I tried to reattach the pipe even though it was clear the darn thing broke in the first place because it had rotted and eroded away. I stood there unable to work out a solution and it didn’t even enter my mind to pull the plug until I got help from my father. 😔 I guess my brain’s rationale got fried in that moment of utter panic?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! There we are … I am not alone! So perhaps it’s not just about multi-tasking but also how we react in an emergency! Remind me never to ask for your help with a plumbing issue … between the two of us, we’d flood the entire street! Katie

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yikes … depends on the day – some days I’m mummy octopus with perfectly graceful tentacles all working like a task-driven syncopated symphony and other days I’m like a graceless chocolate teapot if asked to do more than one thing at once. This is part of my charm. My theory and I’m sticking to it!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The clock is one of the major factors with me … I blame JM Barrie and that terrifying croc with the ticktock clock in his belly … as soon as the beat of time starts in my ears I’m done for! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes! I’d forgotten about that … tick tock tick tock! Gets my stress levels soaring. I’d never be any good on one of those game shows where you have to answer a certain amount of questions in a limited time … I’d be wringing my hands and crossing my legs and hopping up and down – wouldn’t cope at all! Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am very firmly a single-tasker. I too get incredibly stressed if I have to do two things at once, and so I very deliberately do one thing and then another. I think you enjoy said activity more, and I have even learnt to get a certain level of satisfaction from emptying the dishwasher when I just focus on this. Oh god, that sounds tragic. But I think I was wasting the potential satisfaction in boring jobs by not noticing them. I try to give thanks to each and every dish/pair of socks now, and congratulate myself on these small victories! Aim small, I say.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, yes, yes!! I so get you … it IS about enjoying the simple basic things and doing them well. I think my problem is that I’ve married a super efficient and annoyingly, rather clever man who I simply cannot keep up with! It’s somewhat akin to Bridget Jones and Colin Firth … he’s super clever but oblivious to some stuff, and she’s all over the place but dotty about him. If I’m having a blue day, then those simple tasks like emptying the dishwasher, making bread (erm…. bread maker not by hand!), are all strangely soothing and repetitive. I think what I’m trying to do is to keep up with husband and clearly failing. What really IS annoying though, is when I’m in the middle of doing something and he interrupts me, asks me a question which actually requires consideration. I then have to stop whatever I’m doing … grrr! Xx

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  8. I get what you mean about the “too many tabs open thing”. I suffer from anxiety and when I’m anxious about too many different little things, my brain just goes into overload, it’s awful. However, I can multitask and I do so more than I probably should because I have this awful incessant need to be getting something done 24 hours and day to the point where yes, I’m multitasking but I’m not really paying attention and I’m rushing through everything just to tick something off of my to-do list. So I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing if you can’t multitask! It’s something I’m working on, taking things slower and only doing one thing at a time 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Right well I need a bit of your brain then!! I just get in such a muddle … a bit like that thing when you rub your tummy at the same time as patting your head …. maybe I’ve got dyspraxia. Dyspraxial Anxiety?!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You are SO funny! I haven’t laughed so much at a blog since the Arty Plantsman’s posts on The Bus Diaries (I think he follows you – check it out). I sat up in bed last night reading your blog, one post after another and wiping tears of laughter from my eyes. I couldn’t press ‘Like’ on any of them because I cannot log into WPress on my phone (an old thing), so I will have to read them all again on my desktop pc to add my likes and comments. I was just beginning to compose myself when I read something about your mirror image giving you a scare and I was off howling again – my husband curious as to what was the manner of my mirth.

    And now…all I can hear in my head is Dick Dastardly’s stupid dog laughing his silly weasy laugh. Yes, I AM old enough to remember them. I know your blog is about how you are learning to overcome anxiety & depression and as you know, that subject is dear to my heart, but…anyone reading your posts could never stay depressed for very long – you are hilarious!

    By the way, whatever happened to Penelope Pitstop? And why did I always think that Dick was a woman? Surely the clue is in the name? I was a daft child.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww you’ve just made my day!! Thanks so much. Yes I am a huge fan of The Arty Plantsman … I love his honesty and beautiful pictures … he’s such a talent and one of the truly good guys. And as for Dick Dastardly and Muttley!! …. I’m so glad you remember them and that laugh … I can still hear it now. It was brilliant! We did have good cartoons back then. I love finding humour in my silly nonsensical days, it makes me happy and sometimes I am cycling along and giggling about something … frankly I most probably look as though the men in white coats should come and fetch me. But it makes me so happy to have made you laugh! THAT is what really spurs me on to write these daft things down. Thank you for telling me you like the posts, you really have made my day. Katie xx

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Aw, I’m glad about that. I was reading another one earlier, which was a little more serious and I suddenly thought I’d better clarify that I don’t find the serious depression bits funny – I truly sympathise with you on that. But I do love the way you can turn things around and I love your determination to beat this old Betty. And you WILL. I wish you all the best in your journey to a complete recovery and I count it a privilege to be able to walk alongside you some of the way, through all the highs and lows that this affliction brings.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thank you so much … and don’t worry I know you don’t find the serious bits funny! I am amused by things in life but rarely laugh out loud when I read something and can’t bear it when people tell jokes, so I’m a little odd really! Thank you so much for reading and commenting, it makes it all worthwhile and I love finding out what makes other people tick. Big hugs! Katie x

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