Circuit Training for the Brain

When I think about circuit training I think about being at the gym, moving quickly from one piece of equipment to another, trying to get a full-body workout along with some light cardio.  Of course it’s been a long time since I’ve done that, but I still remember – I remember especially liking not doing the same damn thing for an hour, being able to break up the monotony of exercise.

Yesterday I tried circuit training of a different sort.  One of the most frustrating and life-changing effects of constant pain is that I can no longer multi-task.  I can’t cook more than one dish at the same time (yeah, we’re eating a lot of casseroles).  I can’t talk on the phone while sorting the mail, or even sorting laundry.  And just to make things a little more interesting, I can’t stay in one position comfortably for more than fifteen minutes, thirty minutes max.

So when I had three rather large tasks that needed completing yesterday I decided to try a new approach.  I set the timer on my phone for fifteen minutes.  I would clean for fifteen minutes, then fill out disability forms for fifteen minutes, then tackle some blog technical issues for fifteen minutes.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  And it worked!  I got the house clean (except for the vacuuming – that’s heavy-duty stuff I have to leave for the guys), finished the entire pile of disability forms, and got several blog issues resolved.  I was exhausted and in more pain than usual by the time I finished, so I think next time I’ll add fifteen minutes of lying down to the rotation as well.  In general, though, I’m calling it a success.

Are you a multi-tasker?  I’ve been reading more and more studies showing that we perform higher-quality work when we don’t multi-task, but I have to admit that I’d never have given it up if I’d had a choice.  Any other timer users out there?  I’m becoming more and more dependent on mine.  It keeps me accountable for how I’m spending my day.

I’m linking this up to Works for Me Wednesday.

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6 thoughts on “Circuit Training for the Brain”

  1. I am a multi-tasker, but the older I get the fewer task I can have going on at one time. This morning it was laundry, canning chili sauce , making enchiladas, and lunch for your brother. That is more than I want to do at one time. This afternoon it is a long walk with the puppies and a nap with NO timer.

  2. I too have discovered that setting the timer on my phone for about 15 or 20 minutes helps me stay on track. I use this tip (trick) all the time. Glad it works for you too! 🙂 Love your blog! 🙂 Keep up the great work!

  3. Well — you know I love the idea. I just have to implement it myself, and stop having 16 tabs/windows open in my browser at the same darn time.

    I WILL still be calling you while I clean. That’s one multitask I won’t give up.

    Oh, and watching Mad Men while I iron. You have to leave me some vices.

    1. I thought it was so ironic that this came up in our phone conversation this afternoon when I knew good and well you hadn’t had a chance to read my post yet! Great minds . . .

  4. disability forms are just a joy, aren’t they? i had a pregnancy from hell with my son (emergency c-section at 29 weeks due to severe pre-eclampsia and was sicker than a dog prior) and i have fibromyalgia. our hr people are on my christmas card list now.

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