Well what an interesting week this has been! On Monday, I posted that I was going to conduct an experiment. The Man-Brain Box Experiment, which came about from watching a video online about how men and women’s brains function differently.
It’s been an eye-opening experiment, I will say that! In order to do it, I created my own boxes, and only allowed myself to have one box open at a time, and only focus on doing one of the things inside the box at a time.
Goodness, was it difficult! Single-tasking really is not something that comes naturally to me… anymore. I do remember when I was a child that I could focus on one thing for hours and hours, whether it was reading or playing with my toys, I could focus with no problems at all. But now? Now I am the uber multi-tasker, with at least ten tabs open on my online browser at any on time (not to mention other software and applications being open at the same time) I juggle talking to several people on Facebook at a time, while talking on the phone and answering e-mails. In any one moment I could be doing three or four things at once.
So to focus on one thing until it was finished? Very, very difficult for me. But do you know what? It was so much more productive! Every day this week I have been able to cross things of my list. Things that I had actually completed and were not half-done as usual. And I even had time to occasionally open the Nothing Box! I found that when I was cooking dinner, I would just be cooking dinner, not trying to chat to people on Facebook and do three other things at the same time (definitely burnt less food this week). And overall, I have noticed that the amount of time I spend on Facebook has dramatically decreased, which is something I had been trying to do for some time, but couldn’t seem to stop myself going on there! A few weeks back, I read an article about how there was so little time to get everything done, the only way forward was to multi-task like crazy. (I cannot find the article now, and indeed, if you Google ‘multi-tasking’ all you will find is articles on why it is bad for you!) But do you know what I discovered? Multi-tasking makes time go past very quickly. And all of a sudden, it’s the end of the day, and though I’ve been busy all day, I havn’t actually achieved anything. Whereas single-tasking has the opposite effect. It slows time down. Especially when I’m focusing purely on a work project. It feels as though hours have passed, but when I look at the clock, it’s only been ten minutes. Therefore, by the end of a single-tasking, man-brain day, I can easily tick off a few things of the list.
Over all, the boxes that were opened most often, (in order, most often opened to least often opened) were –
Social Media Box
So would I do it again? To be honest, I’m thinking of keeping the boxes going for another week, because even just dividing all of the things I need to do into boxes was a calming exercise. Because I didn’t have to keep all of these things in my brain all at the same time, and I certainly didn’t have to worry about what was in the Social Media Box while I had my Work Box open. Also, this system had the added benefit that I would ignore the washing up if the Domestic Box wasn’t open, and as a result, my partner has done a lot more washing up this week than normal. Result!
Another revelation this week (that was confirmed by my partner to be true) that the reason why men aren’t very good with getting cards or presents for birthdays, anniversaries or holidays, and are usually found buying things the day before or on the day itself, is because the box for that particular celebration IS NOT OPEN UNTIL THE ACTUAL DAY! What a realisation this was! I never understood why men just seemed incapable of remembering to send birthday cards or buy presents. It’s something of a relief to know that it’s not because they simply don’t care enough to plan something in advance – it’s just that their brain does not work in a way that allows them to. Also, once you have celebrated something (whether it was on the actual date or not) in the man’s brain, it’s now done. Therefore when I had my birthday party on the 18th, in my partner’s eyes, I had celebrated my birthday, it was over. So when I wanted to go out for the day on my actual birthday, the 20th, it made no sense to my partner. Which would explain why it took him a little while to get into the spirit of it.
What are your thoughts? I know that this week has allowed me to understand men a little better, and to also cut them a little slack, because the way they are is not based on selfishness or being unkind or uncaring, it is just their nature, the way their brains work. It’s also taught me not to ask my partner to do something if it’s completely unrelated to the task his is doing in that moment, because chances are, he won’t remember to do it, because he’s in a different box!
I will write another update next week, let’s see how productive I can be in the next seven days!
Michelle – awesome post, and so true. That’s a great video too – I’ve seen that before. Hilarious.
I actually started doing this two weeks ago. I never could seem to get to my writing, and I was getting incredibly frustrated. So I decided to make a change: I would not look at my email or do social media until everything on the list was done.
The results have been amazing. The most productive two weeks I’ve had in years. Peace of mind. Happier clients. Like you said, the most amazing thing is how time slows down. In the past, I would be scrambling like mad, and suddenly it was lunch. Now when it’s lunch time, I’ve written my fiction writing for the day, two blog posts for clients, and made some serious headway.
I was going to write a post on this, but you’ve summed it up beautifully here. Now I can share this with my wife because you’ve validated it from a woman’s perspective!
Thank you for the comment! It does seem that the new technologies and the new ways of communicating with one another are making men become multi-taskers, when they are not naturally meant to be. Social media and the internet seems to have scattered all of our thinking. Women are multi-tasking even more than ever before, men are being forced to do several things at once and kids – is it just me or do kids seem to have no attention span at all anymore?
At the end of the day, there really is only so much we can do in 24 hours, and I think that we are more likely to get things done if we can concentrate on one thing at a time, rather than 20.
Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed the blog post, I hope your wife does too! Here’s to a productive week!
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