Multitasking is Passe Focus is in

Recently I learned from Chicago Public Radio 91.5 FM that our brains really don't multitask at all — they switch and focus. It turns out, according to a study conducted by Massachusetts Inst. of Technology, that no one really multitasks successfully at all.

What a relief! Do you feel better about keeping pace with mounting pressures and responsibilities? Or have you noticed a vague feeling of confusion as you course through your day? For some, it may even be the kind that makes you run to the psychiatrist in a panic for a pill to relieve your anxiety. It just won't let you go to sleep at night because you're worried, concerned, or that To-Do List keeps getting longer. With all the economic/financial craziness that's littered the news, who wouldn't feel nervous, deceived, or even angry?

Long ago I also learned that misery really does love company. So when I recently shared my feelings with several coworkers, I learned they felt similarly. We even felt a bizarre satisfaction to know we weren't alone.

With so many things piling on my desk as, out of necessity, lean manufacturing performs its best function by effecting a reduction in human resources, I've tried to take a mental pause, as our MIT intelligentsia suggests. I tell myself to target my next project from that pile, and then focus, giving it my complete attention.

Whether or not it's a technique that could have helped avert this financial debacle months — or quite possibly years — ago is anyone's guess. Were there no warnings? Or did we just ignore them? And when Congress hammered out a financial bailout for Wall Street — oops, I mean an economic rescue plan — the markets and banks still did not respond with any confidence. In fact the whole mess spilled over into the global markets.

I'm reminded of the opening scene in City of Angels when the audience hears the hidden thoughts of people expressing their worries and fears. Now everything seems masked by nothing but dollar signs for every man, woman, and child that comes into view. And according to news I've read from, we have a long way to go before confidence is restored. Our problems can't be ignored simply by turning a page in the financial section and moving to the next story.

Switch & Focus

So here's what some of our readers felt after managing editor Claudia Hine asked subscribers of PFFC's e-newsletter E-Clips if they thought the $700 billion bailout package was the right answer for taxpayers:

It isn't a bailout. More like a buyout/resale. I wish the bankers and politicians would call it what it is. Yes, it does have an impact on industry and “Main Street.” — Douglass

Don't listen to the government's and mainstream media's scare tactics. They've all been bought by big corporate lobbyists. The portent of widespread economic disaster, if the government were to choose not to bailout Wall Street, is greatly exaggerated. It was refreshing to hear leading economist Allan Meltzer of the Carnegie Mellon Institute weigh in on this topic.… — Mark

This subject is so frustrating to me. Why should the taxpayer bail out poorly managed companies? I understand that if something is not done, our economy will get very bad, but where is the incentive to do right if these large corporations know the government will bail them out? Where do we draw the line? The government needs to set some guidelines that if any large corporations go under and they will severely effect our economy, then they need to be strictly regulated by a third party so the taxpayers do not have to continue to rescue Wall Street. I know Fannie Mae, Washington Mutual, or the government would not bail me out if I had trouble paying my mortgage. An investigation should take place, and some people should be held accountable for this, because all of this did not happen overnight. — Mark

If you listen carefully to the news story showing [the] vote on [the] bailout, you can hear the new Congressional theme song. It is the MASH theme song entitled “Suicide is Painless.” — Ed

Switch & Focus

But all is not doom and gloom. There's baseball! With both the Cubs and White Sox out of the race, think of the possibilities for the remaining clubs! Hmm…switching and focusing doesn't seem to make things feel better.

My friends call me…

What's your take on the economic bailout? Write to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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