Weight Loss Tip Booklet - 151 Simple Ideas

Pop quiz! What did they call “multitasking” in the eighties?

Answer: “lack of focus.”

I don’t mean to sound like an old fuddy-duddy (of course, using the term “fuddy-duddy” does tend to portray me as such), but like it or not, I am officially of a “certain age.” More times than I care to admit, I have strutted with strong intention into the kitchen, and upon arrival, completely blanked as to why I was there. Or, finding myself looking for an item in the closet, I will be briefly distracted, and forget what I was looking for. I have, embarrassingly enough, “lost” my keys on the way to the door on more than one occasion.

My wife and I have entire conversations without ever using proper nouns.

“Hi Honey, I saw that guy today.”

“Which guy?”

“You know, the man who did the thing around the house last summer.”

“Oh, with the stuff and that equipment?”

“No, the other one. He worked on the what-do-you-call-it with those tools. You know, over by that place...”

“Oh, him! With all that oily gear?”

“Yeah, him.”

“Why didn’t you just say so?”

We’re not trying to be secretive; it’s simply that the words don’t form as quickly as we need so, undeterred, we press on in the language of “pro-noun-cia.” (What’s bizarre is we actually understand each other.)

Distractions are prominent in my work, which causes me to regularly bounce from one task to another. As illustration, the vast majority of my time is in front of a computer monitor. I might be — as I am now — writing a column. Whilst engaged in said project, my email program beeps, alerting me to a new message. Like a bright shiny object on a string in front of a cat, I immediately shift gears to examine it. The sender included a link; now I find myself online, searching for a new book. Not remembering the title I wanted, I go to our bookcase for inspiration. There I notice an accumulation of dust, requiring me to retrieve the vacuum cleaner. This routes me through the kitchen and it dawns on me that I must eat. Since I am forever dieting, I track everything I consume, so I return to the computer to do so and remember that today is “bill-paying” day. To get organized for the endeavor, I rearrange my file cabinet — until I recall that I was on deadline. I return to the original mission, having accomplished none of my interim goals and now desperately behind schedule. Oy vey!

So it comes as no surprise that a report this week finds older people have less of an ability to multitask, possibly because they can't refocus as well after getting interrupted. Dr. Adam Gazzaley, the study’s co-author, explains, “Older adults pay too much attention to the irrelevant information.” The problem is they (we?) have “trouble switching back” to the issue at hand and disengaging from the interruption.

The difficulty with multitasking is that we can't really focus on multiple assignments all at once, said Russell A. Poldrack, a psychology professor in Texas. “We are almost always switching back and forth between the different tasks, and there is a cost to this switching, which is why people are nearly always worse when they try to multitask compared to focusing on single tasks.” The solution, according to Mr. Poldrack is — if you absolutely have to multitask — “improve general brain health, and the best way that we know [to do that] is aerobic exercise.”

I hope I can remember that.

About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a professional speaker and the CDO of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com, a website for people and organizations who are frustrated with making promises and are ready to make a change. Sign up for his free newsletter at www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com or friend him at facebook.com/thistimeimeanit. He is also available for coaching and speaking engagements at 707.442.6243 or scottq@scottqmarcus.com

When my mother celebrated her 70th birthday (I was a mere lad of 40), I asked her if she felt any different from when she was in her thirties. She pondered the question for a moment and replied, "No not really. I look in the mirror and it's obvious I'm not who I was - and the parts don't always work they way they used to; causing me to slow down. I've got some annoying aches and pains. But, big picture? Inside, I feel like I always have."

I've since queried other seniors about whether they feel "elderly." Whether the respondent was 70, 80  - I even got to ask someone who was 99 - the answer was almost always identical, "I pretty much feel like I always have.'"

This begs a question: At what point do we accept that we're "old" - or at least "older?"

This somewhat gloomy line of thought has been prompted by the realization that if we come with a warranty, I fear mine lapsed recently. Since I hit "double nickels," seemingly all at once, my parts are sore, not working well, acting quirky, or just plain out of sorts. I have pains in places where I did not even know I had places. I am continuously complaining about some dang cramp or soreness, which I do not like doing, and I assure you that is definitely NOT me. My foremost fear is that I shall soon devolve into a cranky, wrinkly, grey-haired, curmudgeonly man-creature, who brandishes his cane at the clouds and rants at the heavens about the unfairness of life.

This is even more troublesome because I'm doing my bit to forestall that unhappy outcome. I walk regularly, eat well, take vitamins, don't stress (except about this), attend Yoga classes, ride a bike; and - I might point out - I'm a heck of a nice guy! One would therefore assume with such a powerful curriculum vitae of healthy habits and proper outlook, I should easily surpass 125 years before I even go so far as to pull a muscle.

My loving wife has (gently) pointed out that I'm "not as young as I was," and these symptoms could be interrelated. However I refuse to accept it's the aging process. I'll age gracefully (whatever the heck that means) but will not go gently, so off to the doctor I go where I inventory everything that's sore, bruised, inconsistent, nasty, gnarly, gross, inflated, swollen, hot, cold, flat, red, or black and blue. He types and listens; studies the computer; clarifies a few details; and then says, "I've got good news and bad news."

"What's the good news?"

"There's nothing serious; no need to worry."

Sigh of relief... "What's the bad news?"

"Your wife is right."

"But Doc," I proclaim, "I take good care of myself," as if that argument will cause him to reverse the prognosis.

"Yes, you do. But at your age, things don't recover as quickly. It would be worse if you weren't doing what you're doing."

So, that's it? Sounds like an attitude adjustment might be in order.

They say this is a "normal process" and I'm obviously I'm in it. In all honesty, I do enjoy the peace, self-confidence, and serenity at this stage of life. My marriage is wonderful. My friendships are close. And, overall, I am happy with where I am. That's what really matters.

Placed in that perspective, I can handle a few bumps, bruises and a periodic cramp, as long as it's "nothing serious." I really do think I'm fine with that.