Tag Archives: psychology

Sculpting Project 9: Mono-tasking: Week 2

Sculpting Project 9: Mono-tasking: Week 2

The Drama: Five Minutes of Attempted Mono-tasking

1: I am attempting to mono-task, focusing on one thing: typing this page about multitasking.
2. My back is sore, (thought) ‘when an I going to take some time for stretching?’
3: Thought, ‘the goats are hungry for lunch I should feed them.’
4: Pieces of a phone conversation in another part of the house come to my ears.
5. My husband asks a question related to the phone conversation.
6: The sun is shining in on me and (thought) ‘I have a priority of taking a walk today.’
7: Thought,’I will have a friend coming soon, maybe I should go now. ‘
8: The phone rings and the friend is calling to come.
9: Thought, ‘Oops, the bread is all risen. I need to go punch it down and get it in the oven.’ (At this point I leave the computer to take care of the bread and goats and get ready for the friend who is on the way, still wondering how I will get a walk in and finish this page before I attend a gathering this evening.)


So what just happened to me: I was beginning to mono-task. Then I experienced interruptions. Some interruptions were internal; thoughts about feeding the goats or baking the bread. Other interruptions were external; the phone call, a question to answer. Some interruptions were prompted by an external stimulus the shining sun reminded me of my goal to walk.

Mono-tasking can be a serious challenge for me. Multitasking takes the challenge one step more. When I choose to multitask I am choosing interruptions.

Q: What can store one billion bits of information in its life span, take 1/10 of a second to figure out complex incoming data and has 100 billion neurons?
A: Your brain.

Q: What has limitations on speed, can only hold on to about 4 things in a working memory, and can only pay attention to one thing at a time?
A: Your brain.

The myth of multitasking

Our brains are not built with multitasking capacity.

We may think we can pay attention to two things at a time but actually we cannot.

Our brains are continually taking in lots of information. The frontal lobe, where we pay attention, has a doorkeeper that only allows in one thing at a time. Attempts to multitask require our brains to switch attention. The doorkeeper becomes a revolving door operator. With each switch/revolution of the door we pay the cost of time. And as we age the ability to switch attention becomes slower.

So the first cost of multitasking is time. The more we do at once the longer it takes.

The second cost of multitasking is quality.

When we do one thing at a time we can do A grade work.

When we add a second activity our quality grade drops to B. Add a third and we are doing C work.

Some psychological research paints an even grimmer picture, saying that: 1. the more you multitask the worse you become at it; and 2. multitaskers are losing the ability to pay attention deeply to anything.

Activities that are very automated (walking and chewing gum) require less attention and can be multitasked to a certain degree. But even automated activities interfere with each other in our brains.

When to Multitask:

When a task is automatic and boring multitasking brings a novelty that can make the time more enjoyable. Listening to music while we work can be a mood booster. Some situations require multitasking such as caring for small children while cooking dinner.

When Not to Multitask:

When you want to do a task well, beautifully.
When you have a limited time to work.
When you want to let your mind think deeply and be fully present.

Sculpting Project 9: Mono-task

Select one task each day to mono-task in the company of the Holy Spirit.



Sculpting Week 18: R&R: Rest and Review

Sculpting Week 18: R&R: Rest and ReviewOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Small steps over 18 weeks and I can see a new horizon. I am so grateful to report that other sculptors in our group are also establishing a new way to ‘be’.

Our sculpting projects, from historic and current Christian practices, are supported by research in Positive Psychology. They increase the well-being of our mind and body and therefore benefit everyone we relate to, as well.

Here is where we have been:

Project 1: Three Things (daily list three things you love.)
Project 2: Here and Now for 2-10 ( being in the present moment)
Project 3: The Jesus Prayer (mindful repetition)
Project 4: Slow Bites ( attention to eating)
Project 5: A Day of Kindness (1 day of kind actions)
Project 6: Breath (attention to breath)
Project 7: Flash Prayers ( prayer for others)
Project 8: Talking Back (disputing thoughts)

Week 18: Use this week for Rest and Review.

Revisit and Refine one of the eight previous projects.
Rest-up for a new project coming next week.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. Then secondly, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:30-31

Using our strength to sculpt our heart, soul, and mind to love God and our neighbor.

Sculpting Project Eight: Talking Back: Week 2

Sculpting Project Eight: Talking Back Week 2

Jill B. Taylor, a brain scientist from Harvard, suffered a stroke in a portion of her left hemisphere. Through eight years of healing she recovered the use of the affected brain regions and found her experience to be a Stroke of Insight.

The ‘Story Teller’ is the name she gave to a portion of her affected left brain. All of our brains have a Story Teller that has the job of taking bits of data and putting them together into a logical story. As Jill Taylor recovered her Story Teller she became intrigued with it’s ability to take tiny pieces of information and turn them into stories. She was amused at the Story Tellers antics until she realized that her brain fully expected her to believe the stories it made up. She had become savvy enough to realize that these sketchy stories “ain’t necessarily so”.

When we Talk Back we are correcting some of the assumptions of the Story Teller.

Martin Seligman, past president APA and the founder of Positive Psychology offers us a tool he calls ABCDE. The ‘D’ step is Talking Back.

ABCDE: (with adjustments to add the reality of the Holy Spirit)

A – Adversity. The problem happens, or comes to mind.

My new friend does not return my phone call.

B- Belief. I start talking to myself about my beliefs related to this situation.

Why haven’t they called back? They probably don’t really like me. And they aren’t the only ones; none of my friends call me any more. For the rest of my life I will just be sitting at home, lonely. There is nothing I can do to fix it.

C – Consequences. My emotions kick in, my body starts to feel their effects and my behavior follows.

I become sad. My stomach starts to churn. My body becomes weak. I crawl off to bed ignoring the phone when it rings.

D – Disputation. I correct my belief by disputing with it. I invite the Holy Spirit to come and give me wisdom in dealing with this situation. I ask God to come to my aid in this situation and I give Him thanks.

God, I am hurting. I feel so alone here. My stomach is all knotted up with sadness, help me to see things your way. Holy Spirit, guide my thinking. Maybe I don’t have all the facts here. And I do have some friends that call me, thank you for them. In fact, last week I went out to lunch with one. Maybe my friend’s answering machine is not working. Or maybe they are sad and just crawled into bed like I have. Maybe that phone call I just ignored was them.

E – Energization. My emotions and body start to feel better and I am energized with better behavior.

I get out of bed and make another phone call.

A: Adversity, B: your beliefs and C: the consequences happen naturally. D: disputation is where we step in with the guidance from God and are able to adopt a new belief about the adversity. E is the resulting gift from God.

Redwood forests, aspen forests in the early winter and my mind after Talking Back: deeply quiet.