I recognized something in my learning process that has been very very good for me. I realized that I pay much better attention to individual tasks when I am doing two things at once, rather than just trying to focus on one thing at a time. For example, if I was sitting in a class in college and trying to just listen to the lecture I would have a hard time focusing on what was being said. On the other hand, If I was listening to a lecture AND playing a little tetris game on my computer, I’d be able to give full attention to both of them. This doesn’t just pertain to school either.
When I’m just watching a ball game, my mind can wander. But if I am watching the ball game AND tracking the movement of a certain player I focus well on both.
If I am listening to a talk in church, I do much better if I am also reading a essay on photography fundamentals.
I think this is why I got into so many pranks and games in high school. The teachers were so adamant about students focusing only on the lecture and doing nothing else. In search of a parallel thought process, I’d usually resort to planning the next great prank. If the teachers had just let me play a game boy or even fold papers into shapes we both would have been much better off.
This is also why I like computers so much. It is very easy to have more than one process flowing at the same time and switching to any of them is just a key or two away.
Once I realized this (and got rid of pesky teachers) I’ve been able to learn much more thorough and effective. Strangely, focusing on two things at once helps me to give 100% to both. The alternative is to focus on one thing and only giving 50% to the item and the other 50% to the wind.