Monday, June 18, 2018
Health

A multitasker takes a fall and learns to slow down

My name is Charlotte and I am a multitasker.

Thank you for allowing me to speak at this meeting of Multitaskers Anonymous, or MA — so appropriate given that ours is an affliction especially connected with motherhood.

As other 12-step programs have taught us, the first step to recovery is admitting we are powerless over our addiction. The fifth is admitting the exact nature of our wrongs.

I am here now to do both. You will appreciate the efficiency, I'm sure.

Anyway, on a recent morning, I needed to go to the gym, take the dog out for a walk, and get caught up on the day's news — all in a half-hour. Oh, and I'd been meaning to try a different route through the neighborhood.

So I hatched a plan.

I would run this new route with the dog, juggling his leash and rest stops while listening to NPR on my smartphone, on which an app would track my intervals, just as if I were on the treadmill.

What could possibly go wrong?

Looking back, I failed to factor in two things: my dog's fondness for being justthisclose to me at all times, and the uneven pavement that snagged my toe as I attempted to step around him.

Next thing you know, I'm in a heap on the sidewalk, my left knee badly skinned and my left hand swelling impressively. The dog stayed loyally at my side.

I got up to resume my multiple tasks, until I looked at my left pinkie and saw that it was bent at an unfamiliar angle.

So I stand before you today with this attractive black cast on my left hand and forearm. What you can't see, since I've sworn off short skirts for now, is a knee that hasn't been this scabby since I tried to race a friend down a steep hill on roller skates.

I was not multitasking then; I was being 9.

A broken finger is far from terrible, though for a writer it is inconvenient. I am managing fairly well, and have even kept the pouting to a minimum.

But this episode has forced me to face my addiction, fellow multitaskers, in a way nothing else has. Intellectually, I know this is a very bad habit.

• A University of Utah study found the more you multitask, the worse you are at getting anything done well, and the more likely you are to do potentially dangerous things like using a phone while driving.

While I would never text while driving — I may be a multitasker but I'm not an idiot — I have been known to talk on the phone while driving. Now, however, I need my one good hand for the steering wheel.

• Other studies suggest multitaskers are 40 percent less productive than those who focus. Constantly switching between tasks is just as bad as doing tasks simultaneously.

• And the worst part: Multitasking may have long-term negative impacts on brain function. Even when multitaskers force themselves to stick to one job, they just aren't as focused as other people, research has found.

"One day at a time'' is something of a mantra among our fellow 12-steppers. Perhaps we multitaskers could benefit from a slight variation:

One thing at a time.

Comments
Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

The extensive government trial was intended to settle an age-old question about alcohol and diet: Does a daily cocktail or beer really protect against heart attacks and stroke?To find out, the National Institutes of Health gave scientists $100 millio...
Published: 06/16/18
More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults are taking prescription drugs, including hormones for contraception, blood pressure medications and medicines for heartburn, that carry a potential risk of depression, according to a study published in the Journal...
Published: 06/12/18
Itís time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

Itís time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

Courtney Bilyeu was running toward the murky water alongside a few military officers when it happened.She was an accountant for the U.S. Navy at the time. And on her way to take a swim with some coworkers in a California beach, she saw blood. The wat...
Published: 06/12/18
Itís important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

Itís important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

The next time you head to the drugstore to buy sunscreen, donít forget to pick up some sunglasses, too. Thatís because both products work to protect your body from the sunís damaging ultraviolet rays.Wearing sunglasses for protection should not be re...
Published: 06/09/18
In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

ST. PETERSBURG ó Kidney disease doesnít discriminate.The crowd of more than 200 patients who gathered at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort range in age from teenagers to seniors. They are of different ethnicities and come from all over the...
Published: 06/08/18
Mayo Clinic Q&A: melanomas of the eye; how long should you take a beta blocker?

Mayo Clinic Q&A: melanomas of the eye; how long should you take a beta blocker?

YES, MELANOMAS CAN BEGIN IN THE EYEIs it true that melanoma can develop in the eyes? If so, how common is it? How is it treated?Melanomas can begin in the eye, a condition called intraocular melanoma. Treatment for intraocular melanomas used to prima...
Published: 06/08/18
For writer, using a heart rate monitor takes HIIT from frightening to fun

For writer, using a heart rate monitor takes HIIT from frightening to fun

High-intensity interval training is one of the biggest trends in fitness, but it has always seemed a bit scary to me. To a mere mortal with achy knees and an aging body, even the acronym ó HIIT ó sounded intimidating.But recently, I overcame my fears...
Published: 06/08/18
Enjoy broccolini the Italian way: Ďdraggedí

Enjoy broccolini the Italian way: Ďdraggedí

By KATIE WORKMANOne of the amazing things about Italian food is that the best dishes are often so completely, refreshingly simple. Like, four-ingredient simple. (We donít count olive oil and salt. Or water. Or air.) I love broccoli. I can roast brocc...
Published: 06/08/18
What to get Dad? Try a Fatherís Day gift that will do him good

What to get Dad? Try a Fatherís Day gift that will do him good

Dads are notoriously tough to shop for. Theyíre not all that great at dropping hints, the way moms do, and if you ask what your dad might want or need for Fatherís Day, heíll likely say, "Nothing" or "Donít spend your money" or "I just want to be wit...
Published: 06/08/18
Tampa council hears mixed messages on free-roaming roosters in Ybor City

Tampa council hears mixed messages on free-roaming roosters in Ybor City

TAMPA ó Ybor City roosters and chickens can peck away in peace. For now.The Tampa City Council asked city attorneys and code enforcement officials Thursday to continue studying how to reduce the growing flock in the cityís historic heart, but no acti...
Published: 06/07/18