Welcome to the College Prep Confidential Podcast
July 28, 2019

CPC Episode #13 - Lord of the Flings

Are you turning your brain into mush with this one behavior? Discover the diagnosis and cure with tips like: Why checking your social media feed makes you dumber Want to relieve stress? Stop jumping between tasks What multi-taskers have in...

Are you turning your brain into mush with this one behavior? Discover the diagnosis and cure with tips like:

  • Why checking your social media feed makes you dumber
  • Want to relieve stress? Stop jumping between tasks
  • What multi-taskers have in common with drug addicts
  • Eradicate brain-drain by eliminating this one habit
  • Napoleon's 8 word quote on focus will remove uncertainty from your life
  • What you have in common with the Prancing Pony
  • Get laser focus using the "Tomato Technique"

Welcome back to College Prep Confidential, episode 13, entitled, Lord of the Flings. Let’s kick it off with a question...

What do 2,600 auto deaths, 300,000 auto injuries, record levels of stress, and rewiring your brain to mimic a drug addict all have in common?

It's a sinister word, and I'll tell you about it in a moment. But first, I have a question for you...

The last time you ran errands, did research, worked on something, or had to perform a task, did you have your cell phone with you? If you did, then you have something in common with the answer to the question I asked at the beginning of the episode.

I'll give you a hint...

How often do you check your phone, check social media, or glance at the television while you're doing something? You're destroying your brain. And the culprit is the answer to the question at the beginning, which I'll repeat...

What do 2,600 auto deaths, 300,000 auto injuries, record levels of stress, and rewiring your brain to mimic a drug addict all have in common?


The answer is multitasking..

University of Sussex Study:

The implication of their findings, is that multitasking, especially involving the use of media devices, could permanently alter brain structure after a long period of usage.

According to Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at MIT and one of the world’s leading experts on human cognition, attention and learning, “when we toggle between tasks, the process often feels seamless, but in reality, it requires a series of small shifts.” [2]

Each small shift leads to a cognitive cost. For example, each time you switch between responding to emails and writing an important paper, you’re draining precious brain resources and energy.

Miller’s advice is to avoid multitasking, because “It ruins productivity, causes mistakes, and impedes creative thought… As humans, we have a very limited capacity for simultaneous thought, we can only hold a little bit of information in the mind at any single moment.”

Our fellow humans have A common misconception... that multitasking is simple to switch between tasks. Ah, but nothing could be further from the truth...

To reinforce Miller’s point, another study conducted in the University of California, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus on a task after an interruption. [

And that’s just one interruption! Imagine the amount of time that could go to waste from repetitive interruptions throughout the day.

Are you a drug addict?

According to neuroscientist and New York bestselling author, Daniel Levitin, “Multitasking creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation. So when you get scatter brained and search for your next high on Facebook Instagram, snapchat, etc., your training your brain to become addicted, no different than a crackhead on the street.

And just like crack addicts, each fix leads to the next. Your fix, comes in the form of another distraction. One distraction turns into multiple distractions, and you get "strung out" on a distraction binge. The binge

Multitasking is making you dumber

A study conducted by the University of London, found that participants who multitasked, experienced drops in IQ points, down to the average level of an 8-year old child. Some people dropped15 points of IQ from multitasking.

Studies have also shown that multitasking also hinders learning. In 2011, researchers, Reynol Junco and Shelia R. Cotton, published a study on the effects of multitasking on academic performance.

They found that on average, students who used Facebook and responded to texts, whilst doing schoolwork, had a lower GPA and grades, than those who didn’t. 

Multitasking creates Stress & Anxiety

Multitasking creates stress. Stress raises cortisol. And this causes anxiety. 

Multitasking creates Brain-Drain

It doesn't stop there... Remember the prior episode on brain drain and simple writing? Episode 11. In that episode, I talked about how the brain is a gas tank and glucose is a gasoline.

Well guess what...

According to neuroscientist, Daniel Levitin, multitasking is taxing on the brain and drains precious energy, “Asking the brain to shift attention from one activity to another causes the prefrontal cortex and striatum to burn up oxygenated glucose, the same fuel they need to stay on task. And the kind of rapid, continual shifting we do with multitasking causes the brain to burn through fuel so quickly that we feel exhausted and disoriented after even a short time. We’ve literally depleted the nutrients in our brain.”


When you multi-task, it's no different than cheating on a significant other. You're diverting time away from the thing you should be doing to go jump to another, seemingly more exciting thing. And when you do this, you damage the focus and mental capacity you had, no different than you damage your relationship. This is why I call multi-tasking, Lord of the Flings. No different than Barliman Butterbur in the Lord of the Rings movie. Just look at the character description for Barliman...

Butterbur was the inn keeper of the Prancing Pony...Absent-minded and distracted, Butterbur is always in a rush, often forgetting what he is about.

A fling is known as jumping from one relationship to another without a care in the world. When you do this, you damage relationships. when you multi-task, you crush the precious relationship you have with your brain. You turn it into a dopamine addicted, stress engine, which is never satisfied. And you never quite get anything done.

You're cheating on your future development. When you get scatterbrained, it's even worse...you cheat on yourself by having flings with other tasks. It's why the famous Latin writer, Publilius Syrus, said:

"To do two things at once is to do neither."

Multi-taskers say time is the culprit. Time is to blame. Time, my friends, is not the problem. It's not a lack of time. It's a lack of focus and planning. Fear not because there's light at the end of the tunnel. People get frustrated from multi-tasking and burnout. Don't blame yourselves. Like all habits, you change the behavior trigger, you change the person.

Pick one thing, and do nothing else, focus on nothing else. If you're doing to do something, do it. Take it all the way. Command your full brain power to one task until it's complete. I'm reminded of Napoleon's famous quote on the matter:

"If you start to take Vienna, Take Vienna" - Napoleon

Take your one task to completion. Let nothing distract you or get in the way. So you can avoid squirrel brain. What is squirrel brain? A doctor came up with this term. You may have seen it on cartoons, where a person is engaged in thinking or a conversation, and they suddenly yell "Squirrel" and get distracted... 

This is defined as:  to suddenly start talking or thinking about a completely new subject; or to pursue a somewhat related or irrelevant course while neglecting the main subject.

Let's focus on the first tip to eliminate squirrel brain. Put down your phones, turn off the TV, disconnect from everything. If you're studying on your computer or filling out college applications, turn off other apps. Have one screen open for one task.

Give yourself breaks, using the Pomodoro Technique, or something like it. Pomodoro is Italian for tomato. So get a tomato timer. Set the timer for 25 minutes. During this 25 minutes, you can do nothing, think about anything, but you can't get out of your chair. No phones, no internet, nothing. Otherwise, you can work on our one task. When the timer rings, you may take a 5 minute break, and then repeat. 

What happens is, you may daydream at first. Or stare off into space. But eventually, and I've tried this, you start to focus in on the one task. And after you get this initial traction, distractions melt away.

Now some college prep tasks may cause difficulty for you, even with the Pomodoro Technique. Or you may want an expert to, handle it for you.

Distraction is a constant temptation in our society. With the right help, you can overcome it. So I want to help you. Instead of dealing with multiple tasks for college prep, such as FAFSA forms, college essays, ACT and SAT exams, why not get some help. So you can focus on one thing at a time, and avoid squirrel brain. How would it feel to have somebody hold your hand and walk you through, step-by-step, the process for college prep. 

How would it feel to be have somebody handle the busy work for you, so you can get into the college of your dreams with maximum financial aid and minimal paperwork?

If you're interested in eliminating college prep stress, then let's get you set up with a free, college prep strategy session worth $250 dollars. This is an exclusive deal, reserved only for podcast listeners. Call 800-234-2933 and give your name, email, and phone number. And we'll get you booked for the free college prep session.

You'll discover shortcuts for college prep and 7 deadly mistakes to avoid. And if you like what you hear and want even more help, we can discuss a full, done-for-you, college prep package.

Again, that number is 800-234-2933 to claim your free college prep session worth $250. Be sure to book after hearing this, as our experts have limited capacity. And they've only reserved a few spots for our podcast listeners.

Thanks again for listening, and see you next week.