Printer Friendly Version

Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

How is your brain functioning these days? If you find yourself forgetting things, dates, and names, you are not alone. If you are searching for misplaced items like keys and papers, join the club. And if you seem to “go blank” every now and then, you are just being “normal.” According to scientists, we have multi-tasked our way into the depths of “scattered brain syndrome.” Which is exactly what I suffer from much of the time!

Where did those darn keys go? Why can’t I remember where I put that file? When I see an old client at the store why can’t I remember her name? How could I forget to get butter at the store when it was the ONLY reason I went to the store in the first place? Dear Readers, does this sound familiar?

Need to make a decision? Sleep on it first. This world-shattering advice has just come from a team of determined German scientists. I love these breakthroughs conducted by some serious team of scholars. Heck, they could have saved three years of experiments and a whole lot of money if they had just asked us – we’d have told them that it’s common sense to “sleep on it.” It’s always a hoot to have science validate what we already know.

But the science of sleep has gone further to claim that a good night’s sleep “cleanses our brain” and helps organize thoughts, filing information into long-term memory and allows us to be “refreshed and ready” for the morning. Okay. I will sleep more.

Oh, and did you know that creativity seems to peak at night? That’s why we may have so many great ideas in the evening. Usually, it’s better to go to bed and sleep for eight hours before we act on those brilliant thoughts. A woman in Anthem emailed me to say that she had the “stroke of genius” one late afternoon to paint her kitchen the colors of a sunset. I guess running out to Home Depot, having a glass of wine and “expressing creativity” all over your kitchen walls is not a very wise thing to do. Had she “slept on it,” she might have come to her senses by morning. This is what the German scientists contend – that most ideas need “sleep time” before we act on them.

Imagine walking into your kitchen in the daylight and seeing hues of orange, red and purple. The woman’s husband was so “horrified” when he arrived home from a business trip that he thought he had entered the wrong house! Isn’t creativity grand?

Oh, back to the brain science. Evidently many of us are suffering from data overload and cannot seem to stay focused. Yes, I know I have a problem with hard boiling eggs because twice I had the eggs in a saucepan, turned on the stove, and walked away never to think about them again. Until the pan is burned and the eggs have exploded all over the place! My husband, Doug, cringes when I say I will cook eggs and if he is home stands guard or tells me to get a fire extinguisher.

Remember when everyone had to proudly put on their resume that they could multi-task? Now that term is so blasé. Uni-tasking has made a comeback because research proves that doing one thing at time (correctly and thoroughly) is better than doing five things at once (sloppily). And people who actually accomplish things seem to already know this. Do one thing at time and get results!

It seems more than ever, people are becoming easily distracted. This is not due to senility, because it seems to be a universal problem with sometimes frightful consequences. Every day, the airlines report that people leave hundreds of items in the seat pockets and overhead bins of planes. Important items like purses, iPods, and laptops! Parents even forget that their kids are in their cars. One lady in Phoenix left her nine month old son strapped in a shopping cart at Walmart and didn’t notice he was missing till she got home! The average American worker spends six hours a week just looking for things, like retrieving emails or files and reports. What is happening to us? Scientists call it data overload.

Chop the wood and carry water! These tasks take concentration. Sort of like peeling potatoes. Pay attention or bleed to death. Some tasks require we “give it our all.” And when doing these tasks, our mind is free to focus and it actually makes us intellectually “sharper” than if we tried juggling several things at once.

Having a creative moment? That’s great…just stay away from a paint can (unless you have a canvas) until you’ve had time to get a good night’s rest. Try doing one thing at a time. We can learn from all this science. Like right now, I’m getting ready to boil eggs. I will watch the pot, stay alert, and keep the extinguisher close by.


Judy Bluhm is a writer and local realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at