Morning Nugget – Focusing Your Attention, Part 6

Jenga strengthens attention as we focus on hand movements and spatial positions. Just take care not to destroy a little critter's home in the wooden tower of blocks!
Jenga strengthens attention as we focus on hand and spatial movements. (Just take care not to destroy a little critter’s home in the wooden tower of blocks, says the 9-yr-old who sketched this!)

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Do you consider yourself a multitasker? If you’re a parent, I would bet your survival depends on it! Sometimes I feel like a one-woman band – flipping pancakes with one hand, pouring milk into a sippy-cup with the other, and verbally directing the kids as they set the table.

Multitasking, as many people think of it, is a myth. We are actually doing things sequentially, not concurrently, switching from one task to the another.

Let’s look at the consequences of multitasking:

  • The more people multitask, the worse they do. They become more distractible and have trouble distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant information.
  • There are problems with mental file keeping, knowing where to put things in conceptual boxes, and the result is a loss of organization.
  • Inability to be able to think, applying sufficient attention and concentration to develop one’s own ideas, or think for oneself. First, ideas often seem brilliant, but they’re usually superficial and derivative.

Social media provides you with other people’s ideas – raw and unorganized data. To form associations and connections, you have to work at it. You need time. You need the absence of multitasking. So, slow down. Pay attention in order to think most efficiently and creatively. In a word… Ponder.

Depth, clarity and cohesion of thought take time and require focused attention. Novelist Jay Griffiths, states that skim talking and skim reading promote skim thinking.

Some of the benefits of attention training are :

  • improved concentration
  • improved performance on tests
  • improvements in emotional control (increased anterior cingulate activity)

Inattention is the most common cause of forgetting. We forget because we didn’t encode anything. This happens when we are introduced to someone and soon after forget their name. I am the queen of this, sadly. I have to find ways to encode names. This is one reason I am studying how the brain functions and how I can improve the way mine functions! Does anyone identify with me? 😉

Here is one way to improve attention-

We will look more closely at memory techniques in the next post, but I’ll give you one idea today. Jenga is a game that requires a player to pay great attention to hand and spatial movements; it is a proprioceptive attention game requiring awareness of posture and movement.

It’s about time I ordered my family a game of Jenga! Proprioceptive attention–here we come!

Have a great day!


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