Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to my counselling blog. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links at the top of this page
In the dark ages, when I started a career in IT, it wasn’t even called IT. There were no graphical interfaces. Windows hadn’t been conceived. Computers had very limited memory, they could only do one thing at a time.
Things have changed, just a little, since then. Now computers multitask and we can have many windows open at the same time, viewing more than one on the screen at a time, and flipping between them as we wish.
I think this is a pretty good representation of how we operate in our daily lives. It is rare that we will just have one thing going on at a time – we might be driving, listening to the radio, and thinking about work all at once. We might be watching TV, playing a computer game and listening out for the kids at the same time.
One of the stories we are told about gender is that men can’t multitask. This is a bit of a myth, I think – we all do multitask even if we don’t realise it. It’s a skill we all possess and can develop – a skill that’s really valuable at times, essential in certain situations. (So too, of course, is the skill of being single minded, to concentrate all your attention on one thing, as high-performing sports people learn to do).
These multiple windows that we have open are, I think, more like bubbles than windows, because they can vary in size. It’s as if the bubbles are competing for our attention, striving to grow as large as possible, to occupy as much space as possible on our “computer screen” – in our conscious mind. The screen is a fixed size, so as some bubbles grow, others are squeezed into corners.
Some people seem to have many bubbles of roughly equal sizes – children, partner, family, work friends, hobbies, the ”to do list” all seem to coexist. This can be quite tiring and these people can find it hard to relax. They can also find it difficult to change their habits, their way of doing things, because of the complexity of their pattern of bubbles. It’s perhaps, for them, more like a patchwork quilt than a set of bubbles, a static arrangement that is not easily changed. Everything connects with everything else.
Other people seem to live very much in the present, and so one bubble dominates their screen – the thing that they are working on, thinking about, in the present grows and everything else shrinks to make room. These people can be prone to addiction because what is happening in the present seems to be all that matters – all that actually exists. Similarly, they can find it difficult to look at or think about the big picture and can find themselves prone to having affairs. When they are with their affair partner everything else becomes insignificant. Nothing else matters, there are no connections.
How big are your bubbles?