Is it ADHD or Multitasking?

Author: robertinseattle

MultitaskMy friend, Dr. Daniel Amen, posted a link on his Facebook page today with a link to a recent article from Forbes about multitasking. Unfortunately, all too many people only see multitasking as a detriment or as a disorder that’s part of ADD/ADHD. For me, it’s all about lumping people into general categories so they’re easier to define. Hey – multitasking? Bad! You must be ADHD.

Well, some people probably are unfocused and can’t stay on task. But for others, the ability to work on several tasks or projects at once is a skill and an asset. Everyone’s different and we all think and work differently. And that’s the point.

Forbes

How Multitasking Hurts Your Brain (and Your Effectiveness at Work)

Jessica Kleiman, Contributor

In a world of multitasking and constant distractions — from the ping of texts and emails to everyone having to wear more hats at work than they used to —  time management is one of the biggest challenges. We might feel like we’re doing more — and, in a way, we are — but we’re actually getting less done in the process. So, is it possible in this day and age to streamline your work style, be more productive and get back some time in your day to focus on big picture stuff, strategy and brainstorming, all of which will make you more effective at your job?

You can read the rest of the article by clicking HERE.

And this is what I wrote back in his comments section:

Dr. Amen and all reading material like this:

I can only hope that more people will simply read such studies and take them with a grain of salt. I would certainly point out that the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD wasn’t even re-defined until recent years. And coincidentally not too long after that, the big pharmaceutical companies came up with… Ta-Da! ADHD medications like Ritalin! There’s a name – or an excuse – for everything. And more often than not, the drug companies will miraculously come up with a cure. Of course, you’ll need to take that medication every day for the rest of your life but hey – you’re cured!

I would like to propose a new series of groundbreaking brain studies: Throw everything out the window that everyone has “assumed” in the past and instead let’s look at how people’s brains really function. I would hypothesize that everyone’s brain works differently and that’s the new normal. A lot of people will be very similar to others. Then there will be smaller and smaller segments whose brains function a little differently or a lot differently. In most cases, I’d be willing to guess that almost everyone’s brain – if properly identified and trained from an early age – can function at its fullest potential. For instance, most of us know if we’re visual or auditory learners; some people learn better by hearing something and others learn much better by seeing something done. Many others probably learn through other processes, perhaps in some combination of the senses. Yet even with all the tools we now have available today, we still don’t test our kids when they first go into school simply to see how each of them learns best. Why is that?

Instead, we continue to use a cookie-cutter approach to teach and test them, all too often pigeon-holing our children as being low IQ or ADD through their formative years of learning, sometimes drugging them to fit them into the “norm.” And we also allow too many others to tell us solutions to problems that really aren’t there. Like ADD/ADHD. I was shocked to hear numbers as many as 20% of our population (many of them children) is now being diagnosed as ADD and therefore targeted for medication.

Here’s some food for thought: Recently, film director and producer Steven Spielberg came out and told the world that he had been diagnosed as dyslexic only a few years ago. He had no idea! Because no one told him! I can’t even begin to imagine the loss to the world and to him personally if some “professional” had told him early on that he was dyslexic and there was something wrong with him. He might never have done so many of the wonderful things he accomplished before someone finally told him what his condition was called.

The point I’m trying to make is that when we pigeonhole people and processes into neat little diagnostic boxes, aren’t we limiting them and their potential? And worse still, by medicating them from an early age, the only people who really benefit from it would be the drug companies who will happily sell you the “solution” in daily doses for the rest of your life. Another thought to ponder: Autism seems to have taken more and more of a spotlight in the media today as stories keep getting spun out to the news. Given what we now see about the pervasive use of ADD/ADHD meds, would any of you out there be surprised if – magically – 5 years from now, the pharmaceutical companies make a major announcement that they’ve discovered a new drug to treat autism? And you have to take it daily for the rest of your life? Hmmm.

When I was very young, I was fortunate enough to realize that my brain was different from what many would call “normal” and I trained it to learn at its own pace with different techniques that I’ve learned and refined over the years. Eventually, I’ve come to realize that no one is truly “normal” and each of us needs to understand ourselves better in order to properly maximize our own potential. Instead of branding people as ADD/ADHD or multitaskers, perhaps we might want to reconsider and look at what these people do really well and learn from it even as we also learn better ways to teach them how to best use their brains efficiently.

Oh – and in the time it took me to complete this piece, I also completed two other tasks.

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