The scientist Harold Pashler showed that when people do two cognitive tasks at once, their cognitive capacity can drop from that of a Harvard MBA to that of an eight-year-old.” ~ Excerpt from Your Brain at Work by David Rock.
This is the kind of quote that makes my inner neuro geek reach for a highlighter.
This one did as well (same reference):
When trying to perform two cognitive tasks at once… “The lesson is clear: if accuracy is important, don’t divide your attention.” It’s possible to do two mental tasks “but they “will take twice as long” and there will be a “significant drop in performance”.
This made me think of all the cognitive tasks we do in the NICU. And how this might affect accuracy, safety and mental exhaustion. David Rock further explains that “conscious mental activities chew up metabolic resources and might exhaust you after an hour.” An hour? What about 8 hours, 12 hours?
Granted, many of the tasks we perform in the NICU are repetitive and may not use up our resources so quickly. And we can often layer higher level mental tasks on top of them without sacrificing accuracy.
But we’re also asked weekly, if not daily, to incorporate new information into our already overloaded brains.
Is it possible for you and your NICU to organize the day so that you use your brain to the best of its ability under the best of circumstances?
The safety of fragile infants is at stake here. The energy you have left for your family after a day at work is at stake here.
The great thing is: you can improve skills like decision-making and recall by understanding how your brain works at work.
It turns out there really is a reason you can’t answer email for 6 hours in a row without being exhausted. Or why you’re fatigued at a conference if there aren’t adequate breaks provided. And why sometimes your best ideas come to you while you’re out for a run or in the shower.
I’m giving you a sliver of this info here – cliff notes of a 288 page book. (I’m dating myself here- SparkNotes, right?)
This is part of what we’re going to cover next week on Wednesday the 24th. I’m thrilled to integrate this information for you into what I already know about creating efficient systems and organizing your time.
If you’ve ever pulled your hair out because you have too much to do, check out the video below and sign up to learn more on the 24th!
Your brain, the babies you care for, your family and friends will thank you.