21 Dec Flip the Switch
Flip the Switch
Walk into a room, flip a switch, and light instantly fills the room, even if it’s a single 100 watt lightbulb in a 14×14 standard bedroom. There’s enough light to walk around comfortably, look inside the dresser, and even do a little reading of the Columbian Progress You may even be reading this right now in a room lit with only a very small amount of light.
Light can be measured two ways: lumens and flux. Lumens is the amount or force at which light is emitted per second, or in other words, the speed with which the light travels. Flux refers to the intensity or focus in which the light is directed, or the direction of the light. It’s just like watching a driving car, you can see the direction and the speed (or force) of the light quite easily. Some lights will leave a strong, bright, focused signal, like a laser beam or a spot light, while others will wash a large area in a weak bath of light.
What does a 100 watt lightbulb have to do with you?
With no direction or focus, the 100 watt light bulb simply fills the available space with light as it bounces off obstacles. But if you were able to take that same 100 watts of light and focus it down to the size of the head of an ink pen, you could actually cut through steel!
Every day our bodies exert a specific amount of energy to walk, run, sleep, eat, work, think, and even daydream. Even when you’re doing nothing, your body is still exerting some amount of energy. Left undirected, this energy can go to waste. What a missed opportunity! But to make matters worse, most us do something nearly every single day that takes our “light” and spreads it so thin that we can barely see two steps in front of our noses.
What am I referring to? Multitasking— or doing at least two (and for some of us possible three, four or even ten) things at a time in an attempt to get more done. It’s something that’s praised as the epitome of success, and if you can’t multitask, you’re just not being as efficient as you could possibly be. So we all try to cram in 50 things a day, all at the same time.
But the truth is that trying to do too many things at once actually distracts you from accomplishing what you are really trying to get done. This holiday season is a great example of how we try to “cram” all the events, presents, shopping, eating and parties together. We pile everything in, all at the same time, and end up enjoying none of it.
Studies have shown that what we call “multitasking” is actually our attention switching back and forth very fast between two tasks because our brains can only focus on one thing at a time. Think of it this way: even though our eyes can see a large viewing area, 95% of that is our peripheral vision, and we only actually focus on one small area. If you try to see everything at once, you won’t be able to focus on what’s right in front of you, and you’ll be missing nearly everything. You might think you’re getting more done by multitasking, but what are you missing? What’s not getting done? What details are getting lost because you’re not focused on each individual task?
As we start this new year, let’s break the habit of trying to do everything but focusing on nothing. Instead of letting your 100 watts of light bathe an entire room, focus it down like a laser and get the brightest light of all to shine on exactly what you’re doing as you’re doing it. Flip the switch and give an incredible amount of focus to one single task at a time, and you will be surprised at how productive you can be.