This is by Marla Cilley (author of Sink Reflections). My mom emailed this to me and I am posting it because I think it is revolutionary, hehe.
Do you ever feel like you must be losing your mind? Someone says to you, “I told you that last week!” or “Don’t you remember?” We can get defensive about comments like this. I know I have. This morning as I was “sleeping in” it hit me what the problem is.
It is sensory overload and our database has failed to file the information in the proper place. Can you tell that I am learning to speak geek? Let’s think about this overload for a second. When I am sitting at home in my chair with my computer on my lap, three dogs, two cats, a television on with a ticker tape scrolling across the bottom or music playing, a house phone, a cell phone, my assistant Michele, my ipod, text messaging and instant messaging, emails coming in, the doorbell ringing and my sweet darling somewhere in the house. It is a miracle that I can do anything much less remember something that is tossed into this chaotic mix.
We are so smug at believing that the ability to multitask is a virtue. All it really does is divide our attention, take us longer to accomplish anything and make us feel frazzled. Only thing that it does is make us look busy. Just because we look as if we are doing something doesn’t mean we are accomplishing anything. This is called busy work. It’s no wonder why we can’t remember anything. We are not osing our minds! We are multitasking!
My sweet darling laughs and tells me that I must have movie amnesia. This morning I have figured out why I don’t remember movies that we watch at home. It is because the movie never has my undivided attention! I watch with my computer on my lap! In the evening I don’t usually make business calls but my instant messenger is always up and I am checking emails. This is just the physical things I am doing with my hands. My mind is a million other places; processing ideas for essays and what is going to happen tomorrow.
So how do we stop this sensory overload? We have to pull the plugs! Let’s practice turning off and tuning in. This is not going to be easy. I know myself too well but I also know the satisfaction that comes from being able to accomplish something. This is how I wrote my first book. I had made myself a strict routine for the morning.
I know my mornings are my most productive time as long as I am not pulled in several directions at once. My routine started with getting dressed to lace up shoes, making my bed, swishing and swiping the bathroom, emptying the dishwasher, feather dusting, a quick dust mop of the floors and then eating my breakfast with a strong cup of coffee. This is my normal morning routine.
My goal was to write ten pages or three hours whichever came first. To accomplish this goal I had some rules for myself.
1. Do my regular morning routine. I could not allow my house to fall apart while I was writing the book.
2. Turn on my computer only after I had my breakfast and bottles of water by my side.
3. I could not turn on my email program or a browser; only my Word Program.
4. I could not turn on my instant messenger program.
5. This one is the most important! I could not answer the phone!
I started my day at 7:30am. By 8:00am I was ready to start writing and by 11:00am I was finished with ten pages or I had worked for three hours. In two weeks I had a manuscript. Do you see what you can accomplish when you turn off the distractions and tune into your brain power!
We are very smart people. We don’t have to feel frazzled and pulled in many directions. As I have been writing this essay I have had to stop myself several times from turning on the television, radio or my iPod. We can focus! When we practice unplugging and tuning in to the power that we have in our brains the sky is the limit!
— Marla Cilley