Multi-tasking,stress and the difference between the sexes

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It’s a groan of a Monday morning. Everything I touch is turning to dust, the clock is ticking and I can’t think of a thing to write about in this column because my mind is as scrambled as Sunday’s eggs, as smearily blank as our boardroom whiteboard (mid-brainstorm).

To make matters worse, one of those ruddy post-menopause flushes is descending. In seconds, I am understanding, once again, how grannies incinerated themselves in the comfort of their own armchairs during a tense point in World Of Sport wrestling.

Employees atf Selfridges clearly practise mindfulness with varying degrees of success...  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Employees atf Selfridges clearly practise mindfulness with varying degrees of success... (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

They seem to descend when stress strikes. I mean the flushes, not the grannies. Or when a press release like this one lands in my inbox: “With today’s busy lifestyles, it isn’t uncommon to feel run-down from the daily grind of life, which in turn can affect the mind, body and skin.” It continues thus: “With 64 per cent of the UK working population admitting to being stressed at work, it is becoming more important to take time out and relax.”

Buffoons. Do they think we don’t KNOW that? The problem, the flaming problem, she says fanning her face with yet another press release, is we don’t have time to relax. How can you wind down when all the things that wind you up are always there, waiting to be done by you, and only you?

In what are meant to be soothing tones but which simply serve to inflame me the way Germolene does a graze, it proffers advice: try mindfulness, a newly-hip form of meditation, a brain-training technique intended to make us focus solely on the moment.

I don’t believe in meditation. I tried yoga once; ended up with a frozen shoulder. I don’t think I believe in mindfulness, either. Devotees have to spend 15 minutes a day focusing on deep breathing and ‘mindful stretching’. What a waste. In 900 seconds I could have emptied the washing machine, hung the towels out to dry, put the darks load on, unstacked the dishwasher, fed the dog and cleaned the cooker hob. All while breathing, stretching AND talking to my mother on the phone. Mainly about how she should relax more.

Mindfulness followers are urged to mind they don’t multi-task. They must focus only on the task in hand. E.g: “When walking to the shops, do not try to check your phone at the same time. When applying make-up in the morning, do nothing else.”

This is, in essence, like asking a woman to be a man. I cannot think of anything more stressful.