sequential. That's why we can't multitask. That's why people find themselves losing track of previous progress and needing to "start over," perhaps muttering things like "Now where was I?" each time they switch tasks. The best you can say is that people who appear to be good at multitasking actually have good working memories, capable of paying attention to several inputs one at a time. Here's why this matters: Studies show that a person who is interrupted takes 5o percent longer to accomplish a task. Not only that, he or she makes up to 5o percent more errors.
Do one thing at a time The brain is a sequential processor, unable to pay attention to two things at the same time. Businesses and schools praise multitasking, but research clearly shows that it reduces productivity and increases mistakes. Try creating an interruption-free zone during the day-turn off your e-mail, phone, IM program, or BlackBerry-and see whether you get more done.
forgetting. The reason forgetting plays a vital role in our ability to function is deceptively simple. Forgetting allows us to prioritize events. Those events that are irrelevant to our survival will take up wasteful cognitive space if we assign them the same priority as events critical to our survival. So we don't. We insult them by making them less stable. We forget them.
blush seem associated with sleep. When people become sleep-deprived, for example, their ability to utilize the food they are consuming falls by about one-third. The ability to make insulin and to extract energy from the brain's favorite dessert, glucose, begins to fail miserably. At the same time, you find a marked need to have more of it, because the body's stress hormone levels begin to rise in an increasingly deregulated fashion. If you keep up the