Shown in red, the frontal lobe houses the "executive system" of the brain; it decreases in volume as we age. This region helps the brain decide which tasks to focus on and when to suppress irrelevant information.It decreases in SIZE ... it doesn't make sound. Or, not that I know of anyway. This photo and caption are from an NPR report on the myth of "multi-tasking." We humans don't pay attention to more than one thing at a time. We just switch around more or less quickly, depending on experience and practice and intention, etc. And, over time, the part of the brain that does all that switching shrinks!
I think this is why my own ability to really focus on my school work - to get in there and grab it and wrestle it and get some degree of mastery fairly quickly - well ... where did my brain go??? It's not that I can't multi-task. It's that I can't focus on even the measly little one task.
This is very disturbing. Focus used to be my best thing! Is this a midlife thing? A post-surgical thing? A stayed-too-long-out-of-school thing?
I suspect it's a flab thing.
I suspect that the cure for this is to exercise. Exercise the core and get my shape back into shape. Exercise the brain and get the frontal lobe to start acting like it remembers what to do. If you're only as young as you think, then I must be about a hundred and five these days. My ability to think feels quite decrepit all of a sudden.
Zen Habits thinks I need to:
1. Get my rest
2. Make a plan
3. Eat light and healthy
and 5. Take breaks and break up my environment
Um ... I just thought of something.
Those are the things I used to do! Back in college days. I knew to do those things. I did those things. I could concentrate like some kind of alien force. I was a concentrating queen back then - a Focus Goddess. I remember now. (I think that shrinking lobe just stretched a bit. Yawned maybe.)
I'm no spring chicken any more, that's for sure. But I'm not dead yet. I've just forgotten how to decide my own day instead of reacting to it. I've stopped designing a life -- because I got one! I worked like stink for those years, got what I wanted, and then just stopped making the magic.
Ready, brain? This isn't going to be easy, but it's time to bulk up. Get a bit of your power back. Remember the sheer glorious rush that comes from a mental mountain being moved - one boulder at a time.
Fiddlesticks. You're just stuck. Today's the day we start the unsticking. Wake up, brain. Let's go.