Do you think the internet has reduced our concentration spans? It deliver’s many forms of stimulation. Jumping from one site to another. We don’t keep our attention in one place for too long. Yet there are times when we compartmentalise each and every task. Concentrating; not allowing anything to interrupt us until the job is done.
Distractions are everywhere. With our busy schedules we must exercise discipline over the mind.
Our lives revolve around two main environments. Home and school or how we earn a living. Yet it is far more complex. When we divide our time into compartments we get a better look at all the responsibilities.
Family: Mother, Father, Siblings, Children, Partner, Friends, Expectations, Customs and Rituals, Celebrations
Work: Relationships, Deadlines, Pressures, Earnings, Meetings, Events
Activities: Expenses, Pleasures, Activity (E.g. Fishing or Scrapbooking)
This can be divided into smaller components.
Sibling: School, Homework, Friends, Activities, Illness, Appointments, Hobbies, Invitations.
Throughout the day we have various duties and responsibilities to attend to. Our attention is determined by how we have arranged our life. Each area gives us joy, pleasure, pressures, burdens and unhappiness.
Maintaining a single-mindedness becomes difficult when we are faced with a number of problems in different areas of our daily lives.
How to Compartmentalise?
We separate one component of our life from the others. Concentrating on the immediate responsibility.
At work you have a deadline to meet. For a certain period of time you zero in on your duties. Leaving everything else you have to ponder behind. This achieves your desired outcome.
Your day at work is over. Although there are a hundred jobs competing for your attention. What is the point of allowing work to mentally consume you when you are heading into another part of your life? Either set aside time for some planning or switch work off completely.
Without this skill, life can get rather hectic and overwhelming at times. Especially when things aren’t going according to plan. Or we have over extended ourselves and have far too much on our plate.
Stress can turn a day into a living nightmare. Losing focus and not reaching our daily expectations. Creating possible delays.
To overcome our dilemma’s we can exercise our ability to compartmentalise.
Think about when you have watched a program where someone has died. Those closest to the recently departed all handle loss in different ways. Some go back to work immediately. Wanting to forget or escape the pain. They refocus their energies elsewhere so as not to feel the depths of despair.
This useful skill assists us in challenging times. Faking a smile and getting on with it. Compartmentalising is how to take yourself outside of your sorrow. It gives you a moment of relief.Faking a smile and getting on with it. Compartmentalising is how to take yourself outside of your sorrow. Click To Tweet
Whether this is a healthy method of dealing with grief is not in question. This is an example of how to compartmentalise under the most intense of pains.
Compartmentalising done different.
I come from an administration back ground. I see my life’s categories separated into files. All my tasks, commitments, activities and connections get filed away in alphabetical order. Organised into filing cabinets
There are others who visualise a walk in wardrobe. All their subjects get separated into shoe boxes. These rectangular containers shuffle about when they are thinking and feeling.
- Say you have split with your partner.
- Divorce papers arrive in the mail.
- The house is up for sale.
- The Real Estate Agent is consistent in bringing people around for an inspection.
- At work you are on tight time tables.
- Your friends are concerned and keep ringing to ask you over for dinner.
Everywhere you turn there is some form of pressure; attached to a strong emotion.
It’s at this point we don’t want to group all these circumstances together. Address each issue on its own. One shoe box for divorce. A file for real estate matters.
We all know the pain of splitting up with someone. It can weigh us down for long periods of time. Our heart falls to pieces. This is when we must exercise discipline. You have to force yourself to keep up with your daily routine.
Categorise your urgencies into separate compartments. Concentrating on what is in front of you. It relieves you of the enormous pressure of the separation. You get away from it for a while.
These inspections are a chore, so you avoid them. When you leave home, you place all the residential issues in a shoe box. Not taking the drama to your next location.
You have arranged to see a lawyer with regards to your pending divorce. You’re seeking advice and representation. You give the solicitor your undivided attention. Keeping all the other pressing issues at bay. Before you know it, your appointment is over. You are now left with your ex-partner on your mind.
Compartmentalising allows us to separate circumstances, emotions, and behaviours. Those which may excite us or be of a heavy burden.
We compartmentalise our emotions.
How do you know you are a compartmentaliser? When we’re in a conversation we feel a certain emotion. It may be dismayed, annoyed or drained. Yet when that subject is filed away the emotions attached to the situation go with it.
A friend has upset you. As you express your views, your voice highlights how furious you are. Another person arrives on the scene. You change your tone of voice to accommodate the individual. You may even change the subject completely. This is compartmentalising your subject matter and sentiments.
Mums; when you have to pull your children into line. You get your disciplined tone on. The kids understand they are being reprimanded. The phone rings you answer it in a totally different voice. This is compartmentalising your emotions.
Our feelings shift depending on what’s on our mind. You’re out having coffee and cake with friends. It is light hearted and fun, you’re having a good time.
The conversation moves onto the subject of death. While a few jokes maybe made from the aftermath of the laugh, the group starts to get serious. Because death is an intense subject.
We slot subjects, behaviours and moods into categories. We leave one feeling and box it up to look at another area of our life in order to remain focused. It is important to ensure that we do this.
Dwelling on a particularly unpleasant situation can take us to dark places in our mind. Ignoring other aspects of our lives for short periods of time, is more than acceptable.
An indicator that further assistance may be required is when:-
- we contemplate matters for prolonged periods of time
- can’t shift our mood.
We combine feelings and thoughts together. The harming of animals can make us angry and repulsed. Wondering what sort of a human is capable of such violence. Yet the birth of a child brings out a totally different feeling in us.
You’re listening to a news report.
- The weather says hot and humid. We err at the humidity.
- Then you hear a child witnesses the attack of a relative who was murdered. We feel for the youngster.
- The next report is of a poor man winning the lottery. You may question when it’s your turn. You could feel happy for him. The story did say he had been doing it tough.
Each news subject makes us feel for a moment and we move on. This is when we are unattached to the situation.
Our state of mind is harder to shift when matters do affect our lives. Bringing our attention back to the immediate minute. Not living in the past or the future. Focusing solely of what is in front of us.
We all know how to compartmentalise. We do it on a regular basis. Some occasions are easier than others. This skill keep us on track. Especially when life seems like chaos has rocked our world.
When the pressure is on and stress is upon us we will find it hard to concentrate. We must be determined and disciplined (okay we have to force ourselves) to focus.
We needn’t worry, we know that our raw emotions and situations aren’t going anywhere. We aren’t ignoring them or attempting to run away. We relieve ourselves from the tension if only for a while. Compartmentalising; it can keep us sane.