Just before Christmas I had a conversation with Russell and Sharon about time-saving travel and accommodation habits I've developed on the road that really gave me a pause for thought.
I explained that - for example - when I'm in my favourite hotel in Glasgow, I have a particular routine that I follow for breakfast that’s designed to get the most important meal of the day despatched with the minimum of fuss.
Breakfast there involves the same food each and every time - whether I'm hungry or not - because a) if I'm training, feeling nervous and not hungry I know I will later on and so need the fuel and b) because if I am hungry it means I just don't need to think about one more thing that day, and can instead focus on the task ahead.
Moreover, I have developed the habit of sitting in the same place (end of one side of the bar with a 90 degree angle to my left meaning I have space to 1) have the paper fully open to my left; 2) eat my "entrée - natural yoghurt with a sprinkling of granola (sprinkles left hand side only) before 3) moving onto the "main" course (don't judge me) of two sausages, one rasher of bacon and half a cooked tomato before finally 4) moving onto the "cheese course" - a mini Babybel. Naturally I show some restraint and eschew any and all pudding. One has to have some standards after all.
Then - on the same day I had this conversation with Sharon and Russell I spotted - from my usual vantage point, of course - a chap wandering about with a waffle. A waffle! Now-I don't have a sweet tooth as you know - but I logged this as a "new thing". Then I started to wonder what else was new on the breakfast menu? Turns out about 70% of it! And as to whether or not it was new, when I started to think about, I had in fact noticed slight additions to the offerings on display, but simply hadn’t been receptive to what was there. This was logged as a “bad thing” because it got me wondering what else I was missing, walking about like this with my head in the sand?
I read only today in The Times that in 2011 typical Americans took in five times as much information every day as they did in 1986 – equivalent to 174 newspapers!!! So it’s natural to develop strategies to filter out superfluous information, but not if it happens to the detriment of new and interesting options.
That little factoid about the extra amount of information we’re processing came from an article about the perils of multi-tasking and using our smart devices too much. Both are harming the laying down of longer-term memories and making us less, not more, effective. The solution? Unitasking. Or doing one thing at a time as it’s more commonly known, and in between times giving our brain a bit of a rest in order that it can assimilate the information it’s been processing. With that, I decided to spend ten minutes just looking out of the window at lunchtime, with the result that I felt much revived immediately and throughout the remainder of the day. So maybe that’s the way forward. I’ll let you know in my next blog!
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about the author
Nicky Denegri is our Senior Consultant. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop her an email and we will be in touch.