Warning! Warning! Scanner Overload

This morning I was in the shower, running the warm water over my hair in readiness to apply the shampoo when I remembered that I was going to clean the shower, not have a shower. I was going to have a shower after it was clean, but I guess I just felt like getting clean myself, and routine kicked in.

So I am in the shower thinking about all the blog posts I could write and discover that I am applying Conditioner to my hair, but I don’t remember using the Shampoo. Did I shampoo and forget, or just skip a step? Too late now. This happens now and then. My mind gets so full of what I am going to do next I can’t remember what I am doing now. I’m not crazy, I just have scanner overload.

The reason for this particular episode of overload is my plan to read the work of four authors on the topic managing multiple interests. Having taken a good look at the work of Emily Wapnick and Margaret Lobenstine I am now onto Barbara Sher’s Refuse to Choose: Use All of Your Interests, Passions and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams. I could only get this book in paperback so I have been watching the letterbox with anticipation, afraid that my excitement about studying scanners would disappear before the book arrived. (This kind of thing has happened before!)

Barbara Sher coined the term “Scanner” to refer to people who have “multi-talented brains”. She tells those of us who have this trait “your unique type of mind does not zero in on a single interest but scans the horizon, eager to explore everything you see.” The purpose of the book is to help scanners recognise the value of their way of operating, understand their scanning type, and offer strategies for designing a life that works with this multi-dimensional characteristic, rather than against it.

I am a cyclical scanner who likes to delve deeply into topics until I feel satisfied, then leave them for a while. Often I will return to a theme, or something adjacent to it, so that I do have a sense of knowledge building and deepening over time. Having chosen to learn about this phenomenon of scanning etc and make it one of my four Focal Points, I am now gobbling up as much as I can find on the subject.

This desire to gobble and rush is probably a sign of scanner over-stimulation, which can lead to scanner overload. Rather than enjoying my reading at a leisurely pace as usual, I want to strip the book of its contents as quickly as possible. If it was possible to read intravenously, I would. Its great to be excited about something, but at the same time, I know the warning signs that I am getting would up. Apart from forgetting what I am doing while I am doing it, I also have eye strain from too much reading, and a sore arm from typing too intensely. It feels like my body simply can’t keep pace with my mind, which is now in overdrive. These are tell tale signs that I need to take a breath and slow down.

I feel pleased that I have been able to find literature about my learning style which makes sense of a lot of the things that have puzzled me about myself. What is likely to happen is that I will read the work of these four authors, and talk a lot about them. Then I will stop, possibly suddenly, and integrate and make use of the most relevant aspects of what I have taken in.

In the meantime, I will be working out how to be over-excited, full of beans, jumping about and loving life without causing myself a scanner-style occupational injury.

Note to Self: Breathe; Stretch; Meditate; Rotate tasks; Take Frequent Breaks; Mix in Physical Activity.


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