Why We’re More Creative When We’re Tired and 9 Other Surprising Facts About How Our Brains Work

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One of the things that surprises me time and time again is how we think our brains work and how they actually do.

On many occasions I find myself convinced that there is a certain way to do things, only to find out that actually that’s the complete wrong way to think about it. For example, I always found it fairly understandable that we can multitask. Well, according to the latest research studies, it’s literally impossible for our brains to handle 2 tasks at the same time.

Recently I came across more of these fascinating experiments and ideas that helped a ton to adjust my workflow towards how our brains actually work (instead of what I thought!).

So here are 10 of the most surprising things our brain does and what we can learn from it:

 

1. Your brain does creative work better when you’re tired

When I explored the science of our body clocks and how they affect our daily routines, I was interested to find that a lot of the way I’d planned my days wasn’t really the best way to go about it. The way we work, in particular, actually has a lot to do with the cycles of our body clocks.

Here’s how it breaks down:

If you’re a morning lark, say, you’ll want to favor those morning hours when you’re feeling more fresh to get your most demanding, analytic work done. Using your brain to solve problems, answer questions and make decisions is best done when you’re at your peak

For night owls, this is obviously a much later period in the day.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to do creative work, you’ll actually have more luck when you’re more tired and your brain isn’t functioning as efficiently. This sounds crazy, but it actually makes sense when you look at the reasoning behind it. It’s one of the reasons why great ideas often happen in the shower after a long day of work.

If you’re tired, your brain is not as good at filtering out distractions and focusing on a particular task. It’s also a lot less efficient at remembering connections between ideas or concepts. These are both good things when it comes to creative work, since this kind of work requires us to make new connections, be open to new ideas and think in new ways. So a tired, fuzzy brain is much more use to us when working on creative projects.

This Scientific American article explains how distractions can actually be a good thing for creative thinking:

Insight problems involve thinking outside the box. This is where susceptibility to “distraction” can be of benefit. At off-peak times we are less focused, and may consider a broader range of information. This wider scope gives us access to more alternatives and diverse interpretations, thus fostering innovation and insight.

 

2. Stress can change the size of your brain (and make it smaller)

I bet you didn’t know stress is actually the most common cause of changes in brain function. I was surprised to find this out when I looked into how stress affects our brains.

I also found some research that showed signs of brain size decreasing due to stress.

One study used baby monkeys to test the effects of stress on development and long-term mental health. Half the monkeys were cared for by their peers for 6 months while the other half remained with their mothers. Afterwards, the monkeys were returned to typical social groups for several months before the researchers scanned their brains.

For the monkeys who had been removed from their mothers and cared for by their peers, areas of their brains related to stress were still enlarged, even after being in normal social conditions for several months.

Although more studies are needed to explore this fully, it’s pretty scary to think that prolonged stress could affect our brains long-term.

Another study found that in rats who were exposed to chronic stress, the hippocampuses in their brains actually shrank. The hippocampus is integral to forming memories. It has been debated before whether Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can actually shrink the hippocampus, or people with naturally smaller hippocampuses are just more prone to PTSD. This study could point to the stress being a factor in actually changing the brain.

how our brain works, how our brains work and stress and brain

 

3. It is literally impossible for our brains to multi-task

Multi-tasking is something we’ve long been encouraged to practice, but it turns out multitasking is actually impossible. When we think we’re multi-tasking, we’re actually context-switching. That is, we’re quickly switching back-and-forth between different tasks, rather than doing them at the same time.

The book Brain Rules explains how detrimental “multi-tasking” can be:

Research shows your error rate goes up 50 percent and it takes you twice as long to do things.

The problem with multi-tasking is that we’re splitting our brain’s resources. We’re giving less attention to each task, and probably performing worse on all of them:

When the brain tries to do two things at once, it divides and conquers, dedicating one-half of our gray matter to each task.

Here is how this looks like in reality. Whilst we try to do both Action A and Action B at the same time, our brain is never handling both simultaneously. Instead, it has to painfully switch back and forth and use important brainpower just for the switching:

how our brain works, how our brains work multitasking and the brain

When our brains handle a single task, the prefrontal cortex plays a big part. Here’s how it helps us achieve a goal or complete a task:

The anterior part of this brain region forms the goal or intention—for example, “I want that cookie”—and the posterior prefrontal cortex talks to the rest of the brain so that your hand reaches toward the cookie jar and your mind knows whether you have the cookie.

A study in Paris found that when a second task was required, the brains of the study volunteers split up, with each hemisphere working alone on a task. The brain was overloaded by the second task and couldn’t perform at its full capacity, because it needed to split its resources.

When a third task was added, the volunteers’ results plummeted:

The triple-task jugglers consistently forgot one of their tasks. They also made three times as many errors as they did while dual-tasking.

 

4. Naps improve your brain’s day to day performance

We’re pretty clear on how important sleep is for our brains, but what about naps? It turns out, these short bursts of sleep are actually really useful.

Here are a couple of ways napping can benefit the brain:

Improved memory

In one study, participants memorized illustrated cards to test their memory strength. After memorizing a set of cards, they had a 40-minute break wherein one group napped, and the other stayed awake. After the break both groups were tested on their memory of the cards, and the group who had napped performed better:

Much to the surprise of the researchers, the sleep group performed significantly better, retaining on average 85 percent of the patterns, compared to 60 percent for those who had remained awake.

Apparently, napping actually helps our brain to solidify memories:

Research indicates that whena memory is first recorded in the brain—in the hippocampus, to be specific—it’s still “fragile” and easily forgotten, especially if the brain is asked to memorize more things. Napping, it seems, pushes memories to the neocortex, the brain’s “more permanent storage,” preventing them from being “overwritten.”

Let’s look at that in a graph – the people who took a nap, were able to wildly outperform those who didn’t. It’s like they had a fresh start:

how our brain works, how our brains work napping and the brain

Better learning

Taking a nap also helps to clear information out of your brain’s temporary storage areas, getting it ready for new information to be absorbed. A study from the University of California asked participants to complete a challenging task around midday, which required them to take in a lot of new information. At around 2p.m., half of the volunteers took a nap while the rest stayed awake.

The really interesting part of this study is not only that at 6p.m. that night the napping group performed better than those who didn’t take a nap. In fact, the napping group actually performed better than they had earlier in the morning.

What happens in the brain during a nap

Some recent research has found that the right side of the brain is far more active during a nap than the left side, which stays fairly quiet while we’re asleep. Despite the fact that 95% of the population is right-handed, with the left side of their brains being the most dominant, the right side is consistently the more active hemisphere during sleep.

The study’s author, Andrei Medvedev, speculated that the right side of the brain handles ‘housekeeping’ duties while we’re asleep.

So while the left side of your brain takes some time off to relax, the right side is clearing out your temporary storage areas, pushing information into long-term storage and solidifying your memories from the day.

 

5. Your vision trumps all other senses

Despite being one of our five main senses, vision seems to take precedence over the others:

Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10 percent of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65 percent.

Pictures beat text as well, in part because reading is so inefficient for us. Our brain sees words as lots of tiny pictures, and we have to identify certain features in the letters to be able to read them. That takes time.

In fact, vision is so powerful that the best wine tasters in the world have been known to describe a dyed white wine as a red.

Not only is it surprising that we rely on our vision so much, but it actually isn’t even that good! Take this fact, for instance:

Our brain is doing all this guessing because it doesn’t know where things are. In a three-dimensional world, the light actually falls on our retina in a two-dimensional fashion. So our brain approximates viewable image.

Let’s look at this image. It shows you how much of your brain is dedicated just to vision and how it affects other parts of the brain. It’s a truly staggering amount, compared to any other areas:

how our brain works, how our brains work, brain and vision

 

6. Introversion and extroversion come from different wiring in the brain

I just recently realized that introversion and extroversion are not actually related to how outgoing or shy we are, but rather how our brains recharge.

Here’s how the brains of introverts and extroverts differ:

Research has actually found that there is a difference in the brains of extroverted and introverted people in terms of how we process rewards and how our genetic makeup differs. For extroverts, their brains respond more strongly when a gamble pays off. Part of this is simply genetic, but it’s partly the difference of their dopamine systems as well.

An experiment that had people take gambles while in a brain scanner found the following:

When the gambles they took paid off, the more extroverted group showed a stronger response in two crucial brain regions: the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens.

The nucleus accumbens is part of the dopamine system, which affects how we learn, and is generally known for motivating us to search for rewards. The difference in the dopamine system in the extrovert’s brain tends to push them towards seeking out novelty, taking risks and enjoying unfamiliar or surprising situations more than others. The amygdala is responsible for processing emotional stimuli, which gives extroverts that rush of excitement when they try something highly stimulating which might overwhelm an introvert.

More research has actually shown that the difference comes from how introverts and extroverts process stimuli. That is, the stimulation coming into our brains is processed differently depending on your personality. For extroverts, the pathway is much shorter. It runs through an area where taste, touch, visual and auditory sensory processing takes place. For introverts, stimuli runs through a long, complicated pathway in areas of the brain associated with remembering, planning and solving problems.

how our brain works, how our brains work, introverts brain

 

7. We tend to like people who make mistakes more

Apparently, making mistakes actually makes us more likeable, due to something called the Pratfall Effect.

Kevan Lee recently explained how this works on the Buffer blog:

Those who never make mistakes are perceived as less likeable than those who commit the occasional faux pas. Messing up draws people closer to you, makes you more human. Perfection creates distance and an unattractive air of invincibility. Those of us with flaws win out every time.

This theory was tested by psychologist Elliot Aronson. In his test, he asked participants to listen to recordings of people answering a quiz. Select recordings included the sound of the person knocking over a cup of coffee. When participants were asked to rate the quizzers on likability, the coffee-spill group came out on top.

So this is why we tend to dislike people who seem perfect! And now we know that making minor mistakes isn’t the worst thing in the world—in fact, it can work in our favor.

 

8. Meditation can rewire your brain for the better

Here’s another one that really surprised me. I thought meditation was only good for improving focus and helping me to stay calm throughout the day, but it actually has a whole bunch of great benefits.

Here are a few examples:

Less anxiety

This point is pretty technical, but it’s really interesting. The more we meditate, the less anxiety we have, and it turns out this is because we’re actually loosening the connections of particular neural pathways. This sounds bad, but it’s not.

What happens without meditation is that there’s a section of our brains that’s sometimes called the Me Center (it’s technically the medial prefrontal cortex). This is the part that processes information relating to ourselves and our experiences. Normally the neural pathways from the bodily sensation and fear centers of the brain to the Me Center are really strong. When you experience a scary or upsetting sensation, it triggers a strong reaction in your Me Center, making you feel scared and under attack.

Here is how anxiety and agitation decreases with just a 20 minute meditation session:

how our brain works, how our brains work, meditation and the brain

When we meditate, especially when we are just getting started with meditation, we weaken this neural connection. This means that we don’t react as strongly to sensations that might have once lit up our Me Centers. As we weaken this connection, we simultaneously strengthen the connection between what’s known as our Assessment Center (the part of our brains known for reasoning) and our bodily sensation and fear centers. So when we experience scary or upsetting sensations, we can more easily look at them rationally. Here’s a good example:

For example, when you experience pain, rather than becoming anxious and assuming it means something is wrong with you, you can watch the pain rise and fall without becoming ensnared in a story about what it might mean.

More creativity

Researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands studied both focused-attention and open-monitoring mediation to see if there was any improvement in creativity afterwards. They found that people who practiced focused-attention meditation did not show any obvious signs of improvement in the creativity task following their meditation. For those who did open-monitoring meditation, however, they performed better on a task that asked them to come up with new ideas.

Better memory

One of the things meditation has been linked to is improving rapid memory recall. Catherine Kerr, a researcher at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and the Osher Research Center found that people who practiced mindful meditation were able to adjust the brain wave that screens out distractions and increase their productivity more quickly that those that did not meditate. She said that this ability to ignore distractions could explain “their superior ability to rapidly remember and incorporate new facts.” This seems to be very similar to the power of being exposed to new situations that will also dramatically improve our memory of things.

Meditation has also been linked to increasing compassion, decreasing stress, improving memory skills and even increasing the amount of gray matter in the brain.

 

9. Exercise can reorganize the brain and boost your willpower

Sure, exercise is good for your body, but what about your brain? Well apparently there’s a link between exercise and mental alertness, in a similar way that happiness and exercise are related.

A lifetime of exercise can result in a sometimes astonishing elevation in cognitive performance, compared with those who are sedentary. Exercisers outperform couch potatoes in tests that measure long-term memory, reasoning, attention, problem-solving, even so-called fluid-intelligence tasks.

Of course, exercise can also make us happier, as we’ve explored before:

If you start exercising, your brain recognizes this as a moment of stress. As your heart pressure increases, the brain thinks you are either fighting the enemy or fleeing from it. To protect yourself and your brain from stress, you release a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This BDNF has a protective and also reparative element to your memory neurons and acts as a reset switch. That’s why we often feel so at ease and things are clear after exercising and eventually happy.

At the same time, endorphins, another chemical to fight stress, are released in your brain. The main purpose of endorphis is this, writes researcher McGovern:

These endorphins tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria.

 

10. You can make your brain think time is going slowly by doing new things

Ever wished you didn’t find yourself saying “Where does the time go!” every June when you realize the year is half-over? This is a neat trick that relates to how our brains perceive time. Once you know how it works, you can trick your brain into thinking time is moving more slowly.

Essentially, our brains take a whole bunch of information from our senses and organize it in a way that makes sense to us, before we ever perceive it. So what we think is our sense of time is actually just a whole bunch of information presented to us in a particular way, as determined by our brains:

When our brains receive new information, it doesn’t necessarily come in the proper order. This information needs to be reorganized and presented to us in a form we understand. When familiar information is processed, this doesn’t take much time at all. New information, however, is a bit slower and makes time feel elongated.

Even stranger, it isn’t just a single area of the brain that controls our time perception—it’s done by a whole bunch of brain areas, unlike our common five senses, which can each be pinpointed to a single, specific area.

how our brain works, how our brains work, senses and the brain

When we receive lots of new information, it takes our brains a while to process it all. The longer this processing takes, the longer that period of time feels:

When we’re in life-threatening situations, for instance, “we remember the time as longer because we record more of the experience. Life-threatening experiences make us really pay attention, but we don’t gain superhuman powers of perception.”

The same thing happens when we hear enjoyable music, because “greater attention leads to perception of a longer period of time.”

Conversely, if your brain doesn’t have to process lots of new information, time seems to move faster, so the same amount of time will actually feel shorter than it would otherwise. This happens when you take in lots of information that’s familiar, because you’ve processed it before. Your brain doesn’t have to work very hard, so it processes time faster.

Do you have another surprising fact about the brain you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it! If you enjoyed this post, I think you might also like our post about 10 Simple Things You Can Do Today That Will Make You Happier, Backed By Science.

  • Nathan Schor

    Well-done and very informative article.

    • jaen

      My Uncle James just got a year old BMW 6 Series Convertible only from working parttime off a home computer. Continued

      w­w­w.Y­A­D­7.c­o­m

    • John

      This article is very informative and it expands our understanding on the complexity of the mind. There’s a book called the Present that talks about the interference of the mind on life. Have you read it ? Google truth contest and it’s the first link. It’s mind opening to say the least.

  • veepopat

    This is an amazing post belle.
    how do you write stellar post after post after post after post?

    this on on the brain is as good as your previous on how stress affects the brain and the one you wrote on meditation. which finally got me started to 3 mins/day before i leave the house every morning. cheers.

    • http://hunglee.me/ Hung Lee

      I immediately wondered the same thing – consistently excellent content that is invigorating to consume. Great work Belle – keep it up!

      • Belle

        haha thanks so much!

    • Belle

      That’s awesome to hear! Really glad you’re enjoying the Buffer blog – thanks for the feedback :)

  • Alison

    Great article – we forget how amazing our brains really are. Best we pay a little more attention to them – will make a huge difference in the long run.

  • English Sisters

    Stress can effect us in so many ways and although shocking it’s not really suprising that it could shrink our brains. We are hypnotherapists and running a hypnotherapy retreat in Rome to dissolve stress, we really do believe that a few moments a day of meditative hypnosis really helps everyone when it comes to stress. Thanks for such a great article its been insightful and very useful for the work we do.

  • Zeddic

    A good article about the studies that are NOT that good. There has been a lot of good research done about the main operational differences between the male and female brains. Those differences are substantial in ALL areas, multitasking, memory crosslinking, operational and MRI studies have confirmed them. So any study, that does not recognize these facts, is flawed.. as are most pharmaceutical ‘studies’ about drugs that bundle everybody into the same gray bag. Studies like that are more than myopic, they are clearly and purposefully skewed by the true objectives of all their funding organizations, and that is greed, money and control. IT IS TIME to get real about all those lies around and to expose them, instead of customarily hiding them, regurgitating them, sugar coating them LIES ARE LIES, no matter how legislated.. Yes, THE TIME IS NOW!

  • http://ThatGuyKC.com/ ThatGuyKC

    Solid! Thank you for always providing applicable, well-researched info. I also appreciate the ammo for arguing w/ multitasking advocates. Scientifically impossible. #boom

    • Belle

      Glad to hear it!

  • newtronsols

    Interesting blog article.
    Re: Impossible to multi-task: From my personal observations, I think a distinction must be made between mechanical rehearsed activities and those requiring new intellectual input. For example when we drive a car (manual) – we change gear, move our foot on an accelerator, anticipate what is going on on the road, listen to the radio, look at our speed, talk to a passenger. But when a new situation arises or we get out of the mechanical sequence through overload we can lose the multl-task plot – so we change to the wrong gear; stall the car.

    Many people have an irritating rehearsed habit – in my case when I’m doing concentrated reading activities I twirl a pen – so much so that I can do this without any conscious knowledge – spinning a pen in the air 3 or 4 or more times and catching. I see this as a parallel mechanical activity those does not require intellectual input – though it appears I am multi-tasking.

    • Einstein

      Agreed! See my post above too!

      • Mark

        The point is multiple tasks that require conscious awareness take twice the time… Of course we can ‘multi-task’ in terms of processes that our brains have regulated to auto-pilot. Our bodies are doing a ridiculous amount of things in this manner and if you do anything repeatedly (that doesn’t require any observation) it can be done without conscious thought. That isn’t multi-tasking. Patting your head and rubbing your stomach isn’t multi-tasking either.

        Splitting your conscious thought process in two for different modes of thought and operating them simultaneously is what is ‘impossible’.

  • sMorac

    Impressive post, really detailed! Can I ask you how much time you did spend on that particular post? That looks like an important amount of work.

  • Happyfinn

    Hey, thanks for sharing your research. Good and interesting info

  • Stefanos

    Really inspiring! Some references for the sources would make it even better.

  • Smart Kenyan girl

    You are right, I usually make good decisions at night when its very late. Thats also the time I write poems and reports. Its the best time for me!

  • Charlie

    I’m a psyc major student and its great how you sort these pieces of info in your own way and put effort into presenting them nicely!

  • http://404err0r.com/ Henry Park

    Great…. now I can justify falling asleep in the library and not being able to do hw while watching YouTUbe videos xP

  • Einstein

    Multitasking is ”impossible”, uhm…really? That statement seems a bit inaccurate, if you will. Depends how you define multi-tasking However, google defines multi-tasking as ”the handling of more than one task at the same time by a single person”. That being said, let me just throw this out there, i can pat my head and rub my stomach at the SAME time. Is that not multi-tasking? I’ll let you be the judge!

    • D…

      If you read the definition of multitasking or an explanation under the point 3 of the article, then you should realise that what you call multitasking is actually context-switching… If you think why we’re not allowed to drive and speak over the phone…? It is because our concentration from task one (driving) is disturbed and weakened by task two (talking)… Simple…

  • Violin for Life

    I have to comment only on the multi-tasking (I pretty much agree with everything else). I’m a musician and multi-tasking is my job. As a performer in an orchestra I have to be able to read my music, watch my conductor (through peripheral vision–yes, it does exist), listen to myself, listen to the rest of the orchestra, follow my principal, and oh yeah…make music. This all happens simultaneously. I’m not switching from one concept to another quickly, my brain has been trained over many years to be engaged in all of these at the same time. If I am not doing all of these at once, none of them will be done well. When I am actively engaged in each one at the same time, and when an entire orchestra is engaged the same way…that’s when the good starts to happen!

    I can understand how multi-tasking in an office, while driving, writing a research paper, etc can be impossible. But to use the statement “multitasking is impossible” is completely ignoring the brain function of those in music (not just orchestra but band and choir as well). For us, impossible is not in our vocabulary.

    • JD

      I would have to agree with violin for life — because not every function we are performing as musicians is at the front of our consciousness. At the office (because my life is mostly ‘day-job’) it’s true that I can’t really multi-task but in musical situations I’m both listening and responding ~ the listening component developed slowly over time to require less and less attention until it could be automatic. Likewise, there are things I used to focus on (producing vibrato on a horn) that eventually became unconscious — switch a ‘function’ on or off at the beginning and then forget about it.

      • Bill Dunlap

        The way I figure it is exactly what you said JD: “not every function we are performing … is at the front of our consciousness.” Probably when researchers says that one can’t multi-task they are talking about conscious efforts of cognition. That’s why multi-tasking while driving, for example, can be such a bad thing – if you put the driving into the rote unconscious mode you’re gonna have a bad time.

        • Jl Hatlen Linnell

          When you were first learning the violin, it was much harder for you to focus on the reading, the playing, the watching, the listening… Expertise in the instrument came as practice and repetition merged these into a single act. Your brain does something called “chunking”, which means combining various memories and sensory inputs as a single experience.
          If I asked you to give the same sort of attention in multiple directions to a task that was new to you, you would quickly become furious because you couldn’t focus on the content I wanted you to provide, while I incessantly read instructions to you, had your peers chime in with updates on their work, and had somebody dance in front of you. Because your brain would be jumping back and forth trying to follow what was going on.
          A lot of times also, we tell ourselves we’re watching one element of a scene, when we’re not. We track it briefly and then make a lot of assumptions about where it is going next. Your conductor, for instance, may get less attention than you think you give him. He’s there to alert to changes, but you largely tune him out once you’ve learned the piece, and check in with him only when you know there’s a transition, and briefly go on autopilot for the playing of three seconds of a piece you’ve memorized.

        • Smart guy

          Actually studies have shown that driving is almost entirely under our unconcious control, for example have you ever drove for a couple minutes and then realized you had just zoned out and forgotten that you had been driving almost as if you had teleported. Yet your driving remained perfect and you didnt crash even though you werent truly focused on driving

    • redredwinesofine

      I agree with Violin for Life. I am an interpreter of language, and often I have to ACTIVELY LISTEN to what one person is saying at the same time that I am ACTIVELY TALKING to the person for whom I’m interpreting. I have to admit that I’m often impressed myself that I can actually do this. It’s called SIMULTANEOUS INTERPRETING. I don’t know how it works, but it does.

    • Peter

      No no no, that’s not how it works. We have both conscious and subconscious parts of the brain. When you learn to do many things at once with practise you don’t pay attention to them as much if at all. You can only focus on one thing at once but if trained your subconscious can do many things at once. It’s like writing a computer program which can do many things at once, but you can’t simultaneously write the program for each thing at the same time, only one at a time.

    • Smart guy

      Except that you arent doing them at the “exact” same time you are just switching between these stimuli at a pace faster than you can recognize so it seems like you are doing them at the same time but in reality milliseconds seperate your actions you jusy dont realize it

  • Dr.Prathap

    Really inspiring! Great research work.
    Carry on the Good work…

  • lesedi mokou

    well i loved all the information presented but in terms of meditation it is not good for you when we look at problem solving it tends to weaken your ability to solve problems. I found out the hard way.

  • aryannatimothy

    Wow I realized how wrong I am in so many things that I believed for so long. I always thought that multi-tasking is very productive and saves a lot of time. But you got a point here that this is really not necessary the case! Great article. :)

    Yanna, http://www.enlightenmentgateway.com/mind-power/

  • Joshua T Crisp

    How can I make my brain think time is going slower if I am my brain?

  • Susie – The Busy Woman

    Totally love it! I’ve been reading so many of the Buffer blogs. I relate on so many levels. Now if only I could get others to understand. ;) I used to wrack my brain constantly discussing with management – how multitasking is costing them productivity, micromanaging everyone is causing them stress, and not giving them clear and concise directions is also causing them stress. Employees ended up producing something management didn’t want and the moral just kept going down, down, down. Then management thought it would boost moral to give them a once a year luncheon???

  • http://www.jenniferhester.com/ Jenny Hester

    Beth you rock!! I love your posts.

  • http://www.theclippingpathindia.com/ Clipping Path

    Thanks a lot for sharing such a wonderful
    post, it is a very nice site i really enjoyed to visit this site.

    Shuvo,
    Clipping Path

  • Ms. Appropriate

    Great stuff Belle

  • Nathalie Hickson

    Thank you for the wonderful informative post. I will read again & make notes. I code switch a lot as teach French & English as well as yoga & meditation with neuroscience so LOVE all of this! Also inspiring me to blog as well.

  • http://www.clippingpathusa.com/ Clipping Path

    Very very good post. You’ve included
    all the great information in this post. Thanks a million for that. Cheers!

    Clipping Path

  • Xuuths

    As someone who used to dance, sing (often in foreign languages) and juggle at the same time — multi-tasking is par for the course. Frequently I am sightreading music, while transposing into a different key, reading new lyrics, while emoting and controlling volume. These are just two examples of serious multi-tasking. Or if you can type fast enough for dictation using a machine with your foot, while you correct grammar.

    Believe me, a tightrope walker who is using a hula hoop and juggling while walking 30 feet above the ground without a net is definitely keeping those actions in the forefront of their mind!

  • human

    About multitasking, it appears a lot of people didn’t understand the text, you’re not supposed to recognize the brain switches, but they’re there, deal with it ;)

  • http://www.clippingpathusa.com/ Clipping Path

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information..
    Clipping Path

  • powerof_thought

    I’d like to elaborate on the tenth point, the perception of the passage of time. One of my favorite songs is “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof. The first verse says, “Slowly goes the day,” but a later verse says “Switfly go the years.” It’s because of a shift of perspective. The speeding up of time can happen over the term of weeks,months, or years, but I find the opposite to be true in the short term, say, half a day. When I am doing boring, routine work on the computer, time just drags, but when I am doing something interesting or which requires me to learn something new, time flies.

  • Ezra

    Great information I find that 8 meditation works wonders. I’ve lost weight, and gained more energy:) thanks for the other points.

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  • ms_curious

    How can you say that it isn’t really possible to multitask? I can research online or out of a book and while writing, correct grammar and spelling I may add, while listening to the radio or YouTube and sing a song at the same time. At times, depending on what I’m reading and writing, it may not be completely effortless but most of the time I’m not struggling to maintain both without mistakes. Also, being able to read, retain knowledge, correctly answer questions about what was just read while holding a conversation about a different topic, in person or not. You’re saying this isn’t possible? Or is it specific functions that can’t be performed simultaneously with an accurate outcome? Just wondering.

  • ms_curious

    Other than one questionable statement I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed reading what you’ve written. Out of so many topics and different opinions and stances one encounters on-line about any topic, yours grabbed my attention and kept it. Usually I get two or three sentences in and bookmark the page with the intention of coming back to it when I get bored. Thank you.

  • Andrew

    I didn’t read the original study, but I wonder if napping helps solidify memories or if, by napping, one simply avoids the interference potentially experienced by those participants who remained awake.

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  • Chris

    I would agree with most, but the multi-tasking is just wrong. I am a woman who can not only hold a complete conversation but be typing something completely different on the PC, neither suffer and no mistakes are made. Information is my business, and I have to be able to multi-task or I wouldn’t be able to do what I do day in and day out. And yes I am doing them at exactly the same time, while it does tend to freak people out who are watching and speaking to me while I type responses to questions being asked never missing a beat with my conversation on either end. If that isn’t multi-tasking then I suppose I don’t know what it is. By the way, ask any mother of more than one child if they can multi-task and they will say yes!

    • http://courtneyseiter.com/ Courtney Seiter

      Hey Chris, how cool that you’re so efficient! I read a study about a small subset of “super taskers” – people who can multitask without any negative effects at all. I bet you’re one of them! Here’s the story: http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1977523,00.html