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Too Much Multi-Tasking Can Make You Stupider
May 16, 2005

Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #034, May 16, 2005

=========== TABLE OF CONTENTS ==========

· Want To Be Smarter? Listen To Music While You Work Out

· Help For Those Looking After Family Members With Special Needs

· Too Much Multi-Tasking Can Make You Stupider · Book Review: Full Catastrophe Living


Written by Noel McNaughton (c) copyright 2005


If you like this e-zine, please do a friend and me a big favour and forward it to him. If a friend DID forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting

Midlife Wisdom for Men.


Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men. And a special welcome to the new subscribers this week. Hope you find this newsletter interesting and useful.

There are about 950 words in the articles in this newsletter, which may take about four minutes to read.



Want To Be Smarter? Listen To Music While You Work Out

Study volunteers who listened to Vivaldi's Four Seasons while running on a treadmill later performed twice as well on a verbal fluency test than when they exercised without music.

Theory: People who exercise while listening to music undergo specific brain activity that improves overall cognitive function.

Now: Researchers plan to test this theory on exercisers who choose their own type of music. From: Bottom Line Health Newsletter


TWO retired gentlemen were having coffee at the town diner. The first man spoke up, "I just bought the best hearing aid money can buy."

The second man asked, "What kind is it?"

The first man, looking at his watch, replied, "It's 2:30."


Help For Those Looking After Family Members With Special Needs

My friend Judy and her husband looked after her dad when he got Alzheimers. He died a year or so ago, and Judy is finally recovering from the exhaustion of looking after him. She had not expected the emotional drain of watching him 'disappear' before her eyes, as the disease progressed. Judy didn't look after herself as well as she might have, but she really didn't know how.

Looking after family members, especially parents, as they 'disappear' can be very difficult both physically and emotionally, and it is important to not get overwhelmed. Here is a note from a Coach Training Institute forum I am part of. It is self-explanatory:

Another CTI Coach, Michelle Buzgon and I, Barbara Epstein, have launched an effective, nurturing, fun and informative program for Caregivers that encourages them to 'take care of themselves first' so that they can be healthy and have the energy required to take care of others. Our program is called 'SelfWish' ( We coach caregivers that it's not 'selfish' to take care of themselves first. It's actually very important to meet their own needs and nurture themselves so that they can be available to care for others and nurture them.

We're working with families who have members with Alzheimer's, dementia and other chronic or debilitating conditions. Our program also includes coaching parents and other caregivers who have children or grandchildren with special needs. We offer telephone coaching as well as 'in person' coaching, individual coaching as well as group coaching, seminars, workshops and retreats.

We focus on stress management tools and techniques and assist caregivers in processing and managing their feelings of loss, isolation and bereavement. We support caregivers holistically (mind-body-spirit) as we share strategies for avoiding burnout and balancing their care giving to others with giving care to themselves, experientially and didactically. We nurture and coach them about ways to network and how to access other support services available to them in their communities.

Please contact Barbara or Michelle through for further information or to avail yourself, or someone you care about, of our services. Michelle lives in Washington, DC. Barbara lives in North Bethesda, MD. We coach by phone, and we'd be delighted to hear from you.


ON A SWEDISH CHAINSAW: Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands.


Too much multi-tasking can make you stupider

Do you feel smug and maybe a little superior because you can multi-task?

Or maybe you feel like a loser because you can't multi-task worth beans?

In the 5/03 newsletter "face2face" is this press release from Hewlett Packard: Far from making workers more productive, the findings of a new scientific experiment reveal that those who "over juggle" and who constantly disrupt meetings and important tasks to read and respond to messages, significantly reduce their IQ. In a series of tests carried out by Dr. Glenn Wilson, Reader in Personality at the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, an average worker's functioning IQ falls ten points when distracted by ringing telephones and incoming emails. This drop in IQ is more than double the four point drop seen following studies on the impact of smoking marijuana. Similarly, research on sleep deprivation suggests that an IQ drop of ten points is equal to missing an entire night of sleep.

This IQ drop was even more significant in the men than the women who took part in the tests!

"This is a very real and widespread phenomenon," explains psychologist Dr. Glenn Wilson, "We have found that Info-Mania, if unchecked, will damage a worker's performance by reducing their mental sharpness."


If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to everything you say, talk in your sleep.


Book Review

Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat Zinn. I read this book a number of years ago, and bought the inexpensive audio cassette offered at the back of the book that featured a guided ‘Mindfulness Body Scan’ which I practiced regularly for several months. After a few weeks I found I was more mindful about everything I did, from eating to working. (You can practice anything "mindfully," from taking a walk to cleaning your house, but Kabat-Zinn presents several meditation techniques that focus the attention most clearly, whether it's on a simple phrase, your breathing, or various parts of your body.)

Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, is perhaps the best-known proponent of using meditation to help patients deal with illness, but this book is also an excellent introduction for anyone who has considered meditating but was afraid it would be too difficult or would include religious practices they found foreign.




Just For You: A Free Do-It-Yourself Retirement Planning Report

If you are a new subscriber to this newsletter, you will recall I promised you a link to a secret page on the Midlife Men's site where you can download a free 27-page report on 'DIY Retirement planning' by George Slater.

Welcome to the newsletter, and for your free report, go to: DIY Retirement E-Report , click on the link, and follow the instructions.



Learn to be a Teleclass Facilitator

If you are a facilitator/speaker/professional who gives lectures or workshops, you can do it from home and make money. Teleclasses (also known as teleseminars) using telephone bridge lines, are becoming increasingly popular, and and a very inexpensive way to deliver high-quality training. I took training in teleclass leadership from Teleclass International which I highly recommend.



A Destroyer of Compasses by Wade Bell, published by Guernica Editions, (Toronto, Buffalo and Lancaster UK) $15.00 Cdn

One Man's Mid-Life Crisis Led to Spain. Planning to spend six weeks, he stayed five years.

A book of stories the Toronto Globe & Mail called "an assured and sensual portrait of a culture" with "precise and ironic examples of human idiosyncracy." The review went on to call stories "gems."

Available from Amazon, E-Bay and local bookstores.



This is a handy program that I use every day to clean my computer and keep it ticking along at top speed.

Is Your Computer Slower Than When You Got It? And Are You Protected From Hackers? Performance Pro is a POWERFUL little program that gives you:

  • Personal Firewall - Protect your privacy against online snoopers and hackers
  • System Cleaner - Delete old, unnecessary files that waste valuable disk space
  • File Shredder - Securely shred files and folders with military precision, so they cannot ever be recovered
  • Speed up general system performance and hard drive searching performance
  • Block annoying pop-ups and banner ads - this alone speeds up your Internet browsing experience!
  • Delete all traces of your Internet usage, so nobody will ever know where you have been online


I Need Your Questions and Feedback!

Got comments? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.

Just email your suggestions and/or questions to . I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks.


Well friend, that's it for now. Again, if you enjoyed this and/or found it useful, and know of anyone else who might like it, please pass it forward. And if you have questions or recommendations, I would love to hear from you.

All the best, Noel

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