How To Solve Problems Like Sherlock Holmes


Holmes practices mindfulness, which sounds new-agey, but is actually quite practical. Mindfulness means focusing on only one problem or activity at a time. But mindfulness isn’t the opposite of multi-tasking, because there’s actually no such thing. “Our brain cannot do two things at once,” says Konnikova. “What we believe is multi-tasking is really the brain switching quickly from one task to the next.” And when our brains move so quickly between pursuits, it’s impossible to be truly focused on any single one. “Your attention is a finite resource,” says Konnikova. “Even when we’re walking down the street–not on the phone, not listening to music but simply thinking about what we’re having for dinner–we’re not really noticing the world around us.”

This is a nice reminder of a few things for me. Number one: I often have knee-jerk reactions not only in social situations but with work too. When you work for clients it’s sometimes difficult to put yourself in their shoes for a minute and easy to let their [lack of] tone rub you the wrong way. This article continues to speak to the fact that while many of us take pride in the fact that we can “multitask”, there’s effectively no such thing and what we’re doing instead is simply snapping our thought process from one thing to the next.