Giving full attention and the act of multi-tasking

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Here is an activity for you to do. Either at home or at a staff meeting! Get yourself a pen and paper and a timer/stopwatch. Time yourself or get some one else to time you whilst writing down the following on your piece of paper, from top to bottom, as fast as you can

A1, B2, C3, etc, all the way down to Z26.

The rule is to write each letter with the correlating number next to it, before you go to the next letter.

Now turn the paper over and time yourself again, this time writing down from top to bottom as fast as you can: 

A, B, C, etc, all the way down to Z and then next to the letters the correlating numbers 1,2,3 all the way down to 26.

Both pages will look the same at the end. 

Which one was faster and what did you notice?

In the first task you were multi tasking, thinking of letters and thinking of numbers. In task number two you were single tasking, thinking of only letters, followed with thinking of only numbers.

Studies have shown that true multi tasking does not exist.

Instead, we are switching between tasks. And every time we switch we loose concentration. We don’t really multi task. Our brain switches back and forth between multiple tasks. It takes the brain time to switch back and forth and to re-adjust to the task.

Think about your brain as your computer. If you leave too many tabs and windows open on your computer it becomes slow, and eventually you have to close all windows or reboot! Just like the processor in your computer, your brain can only do one task. Maybe it can do an automated task in the background, a task that doesn’t need full attention. But to really do the task well your brain needs to focus and for the brain that focus takes time. Switching tasks takes away the focus. And when we take away the focus the quality may suffer!

Do you multi task your relationship with the child? 

Are you trying to focus on different things all at the same time? Like changing a nappy whilst talking to another staff member. Are you writing down A1, B2, C3 when you are with the child? Or are you mindful, focussed on the relationship, and giving your full attention to the child in front of you, like writing down A,B,C, first and then 1,2,3? Can you see and feel the difference? Notice the difference in time, in effort, in quality? 

Are you keeping the important thing on top, are you putting the relationship first?

Putting the relationship first is a process.

The child is the Heart of the Matter. The roadmap to putting the relationship first is to start practicing teaching from the heart. If you put the relationship first, full attention will fall in place. You have to allow yourselves to be true to who you are, rather than meeting the needs of who others would like you to be.

If you really want to put the relationship first, you have to learn to be present and learn to single task and let everything else fall into place.

Return some peace en put enjoyment back in your teaching.

It is those who choose to be 'present' and have an attitude of 'mindfulness' that really do make the difference in not only the life of children, but also the life of those around them. Your full attention really is the greatest gift you can give the child, and you can give yourselves. It let’s the child know they are important to you and it allows you to concentrate on the child that is in front of you. Be present with those you care about, including yourself. It will give you more peace and enjoyment.