The Hexagon, Volume 103, Number 3, Fall 2012 Page: 51
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An archeologist in Xi'an, China works at the Terra Cotta Warriors Museum.
A portrait in paying attention
GE Note: During a visit to Xi'an during October 2012, I was captivated by the quiet serenity of this young archeologist concen-
trating on his task. Simple quiet work seems so rare that I thought I would honor it with an entire page for you to contemplate.
In 2009, the New York Times did a report on a book by Winifred Gallagher, called Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life
(Penguin Press, 2009). I quote from that report, here:
[Gallagher] recommends starting your workday concentrating on your most important task for 90 minutes. At that
point your prefrontal cortex probably needs a rest, and you can answer email, return phone calls and sip caffeine (which
does help attention) before focusing again. But until that first break, don't get distracted by anything else, because it can
take the brain 20 minutes to do the equivalent of rebooting after an interruption.
"Multitasking is a myth," Ms. Gallagher said. "You cannot do two things at once. The mechanism of attention is selec-
tion: it's either this or it's that." She points to calculations that the typical person's brain can process 173 billion bits of
information over the course of a lifetime.
"People don't understand that attention is a finite resource, like money'," she said.
FALL 2012/THE HEXAGON
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Alpha Chi Sigma. The Hexagon, Volume 103, Number 3, Fall 2012, periodical, Autumn 2012; Indianapolis, Indiana. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc130207/m1/19/: accessed February 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .