The alleged experts say that we can’t multitask. That we merely do some kinda task-switching thing. And that those who are better at task-switching are the ones we more commonly think of as multitaskers.
Ok, so that sounded a tad convoluted. Why? Because I’m failing at multitasking at the moment. I’m writing this while cleaning up the, “oh, god, where’s mom?!” mess from last night. See, I can only sleep with the pups every other night. One night snuggles, one night actual sleep. And last night was a sleep night.
Anywayz. Why is this morning’s cleanup such a challenge?
Because usually when he does this separation anxiety thing, there’s trash or food everywhere. But last night I got smart about it, and closed up or took out all the trash, and made sure there were no food things handy. Er, mouthy. Cuz we use hands and dogs use mouths.
Meaning last night he got into the, uh, personal appliances that were out for maintenance. Thankfully he was more interested in the wax paper covering them than the actual devices.
And oh, I save money by buying supplements and such in bulk, and then putting them into capsules myself. And I gotta lotta pretty capsules.
And Taz got into those, too.
Apparently they didn’t have the fun taste or crunch he was hoping for, or maybe they felt weird melting in his mouth. So he spit them out. On the zebra blanket. That’s on the white couch. And he got into the black capsules. And some were on the carpet. The pink carpet.
Yep. Multitask fail.
Oh, and Squiggs pooped in front of the patio door after she’d been out for quite some time. She’s getting the diaper again soon. This is ridiculous.
I gotta get better at this task-switching thing so that it works out even with anger-inducing tasks such as what we got going on here this morning.
So how do I do that?
By using an app called CardShark. It’s on iOS, not sure about other device platforms. Here’s all their games. The six up front, before the heart, are my favorites.
I practice task switching by playing each favorited game at my leisure. In any order. Next, I play each game as fast as I can. Sometimes I play a couple rounds of a game to get my brain almost on autopilot with it, and then switch to another game.
I selected these six particular games because they’re relatively easy, meaning this practice is relaxing. And don’t increase something called decision fatigue, which we’ll get into in a bit.
Here are the links to each game (link will work after each post goes live), including a summary and screenshots in case you’re not familiar it:
- Basic Rummy‘s silly meld rules are what helps with task-switch practice because this requires accessing Lon-term memory and put it to use.
- Batsford helps with the task-switching because my brain has to recognize the patterns across ten piles plus the eight ace piles.
- Euchre is very different tan any of these other games. On the plus side, this helps because of the memory access and use thing akin to Basic Rummy. Unfortunately I’ve played this game so much that I can practically do it in my sleep.
- Josephine is especially helpful when switching to or from Batsford because the look so similar with kinda related rules.
- Rummy 500 before or after Basic Rummy is great because they’re just slightly different flavor the same game.
- Speed Match‘s strength is looking at a bunch of cards in seemingly random order, and finding duplicates.
There’s a psychological behavioral theory that people can only make so many choices in a day. That every choice we make, no matter how small, takes up one of our choice slots.
For example, you’re at the store trying to figure which of the seventy milk options to buy. That’s a choice.
This helps to explain why so many of us live on autopilot. It keeps us in a doable number of choices each day.
This also helps to explain why people vote for the party they’ve always voted for, or the incumbent. Because they don’t have to choose.
It’s only a choice that matters if it impacts them. Meaning it impacts their job, their family, or their pet causes. If all of those are running within expected, normal parameters, there’s no need for them to make a choice.
What the heck has this got to do with games to practice with, or play for fun?
Choosing which game to play counts as a choice. Having a limited number of choices and/or or set routine to select which to play means the choice is faster or easier, or maybe not even a choice because this is how games are selected.
Secondly, some games require choices. For example, am I going have to keep track of cards I can’t see to choose the ones that match? That’s a choice.
So to minimize decision fatigue, Concentration is out.
And before anyone starts counting how many choices they make in a day and then plan how many they can make, it’s not that straight forward.
The more novel the choice is, such as picking out your first car, the more of your choice limit is used.
Choices with significant consequences also might eat up more of your day’s choicing. Choosing is the action. Choicing is my own term for using the pool of choice energy we have.
For example, do you turn left like the GPS says, and drive into a lake, turn right and crash into a truck, or go straight and hope that’s ok?
Also, there’s dissonance to consider. As in the options are too much like each other rather than cognitive dissonance.
Which is why having 147 ketchup options feels so overwhelming. They’re all ketchup. Some are brighter red, some are duller. Some have a somewhat grainy consistency, some are runny. Some are big bottles, some are smaller. Some are organic, some are not. We have a coupon for some but not others. And they’re all different prices, especially when taking the coupons into account.
First decision: I want to buy ketchup today.
Second decision: I want slightly grainy ketchup because it sticks to my fries better.
Third decision: I want organic. And non-GMO.
Fourth decision: my ketchup budget is $4.
Fifth decision: which options are within that budget, that are non-GMO and organic, and won’t slog off my fries?
Sixth decision: it’s gotta be a big enough bottle to last, but no so big that it goes bad or dries out before I can finish it.
Seventh decision: oops, here are the ones that meet my price with coupons.
So now you’re down to a dozen bottles. They each meet all of your stated parameters. How do you finally choose which to buy? Do you make another decision by adding another parameter? Do you make a decision as to which parameter is most important?
Or do you make the first decision, which is to buy ketchup today, and a second decision to buy Bob’s Brand because it’s what you always get. And bonus! You have a coupon!
So no Concentration or new games for me, at least not for the relaxation stuff. And certainly not early in the day because I don’t want to use up my choicing energy too quickly. And definitely not at night because my brain is too tired for all that.
And in case you’re curious, yes, tonight oughta be snuggle night. I worked way too hard cleaning stuff up for that to happen. But. I also remembered that none of this ever happened when my bedroom door was open, and it’s blocked by a doggy gate. Some houses might call them baby gates.
And with all that, g’night!