Guest Blogger Lorie Sheffer: Does the noise in my head bother you?

Blue car
In the blink of an eye, the car is totaled and no one got hurt. Photo: Lorie Sheffer


The title of Steven Tyler’s book made me think long and hard about the distractions we all seem to live with, conjured up in our own heads.

Multitasking seems to be regarded as a virtue. Yet studies have shown that, in reality, multitasking leads to a 40% reduction in productivity.

Years ago a young woman in my yoga class was having trouble. Her trouble wasn’t with flexibility or strength. She said her problem came at the end of class, during the shavasana. This is at the end of class, the part where you clear your mind and concentrate on your breathing. She said she kept going all the things she needed to do when she got home. She couldn’t silence her inner chatter even for that brief period of time.

Sometimes the inner noise can lead to minor mishaps. A few weeks ago I was baking blueberry muffins while mentally going over my last minute “to do list” for my yard sale. The result was one of the very few baking screw-ups I’ve ever had, and I’m still not sure what I did that caused the gluey, tough muffins that ended up in the trash.  Other times our inner chatter causes us to forget something that later turns out to be funny. Like the time my friend woke up to discover she had left her car sitting in the driveway all night with the engine running. Then there are the tragedies and near tragedies. We have all read the nightmare of an overworked, over-scheduled parent forgetting their baby is in the backseat of the car on a brutally hot day. We hear news accounts of someone who lost their home in a fire because they forgot they had something on the stove. Distraction. Thinking about what’s next on that endless list.

Does the noise in my head bother you? The answer can be “yes”. The noise in our heads and resulting inability to focus on the task at hand can not only be bothersome and stressful to us, it can be downright dangerous to those around us.

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.