This is the twenty-fifth in a series of brief posts during October — global ADHD Awareness Month. Each features a quote that relates to ADHD and neurodiversity.
Multitasking, when it comes to paying attention, is a myth. The brain naturally focuses on concepts sequentially, one at a time. At first that might sound confusing; at one level the brain does multitask. You can walk and talk at the same time. Your brain controls your heartbeat while you read a book. Pianists can play a piece with left hand and right hand simultaneously. Surely this is multitasking. But I am talking about the brain’s ability to pay attention. It is the resource you forcibly deploy while trying to listen to a boring lecture at school. It is the activity that collapses as your brain wanders during a tedious presentation at work. This attentional ability is, to put it bluntly, not capable of multitasking.
John Medina’s Brain Rules is a fascinating book that is always interesting and often entertaining. It’s probably written for adults, but I know some middle school and older students who have enjoyed it and the YouTube videos spun off from it.
Just in case you want a quick overview taken right from the book, here is a summary of the rules: