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Why Multitasking Is Detrimental to Your Brain and Prospects

As a working writer, I know that I produce my best work when I have uninterrupted stretches of time. Writing well requires intense focus and a clear head. Like everyone else I sometimes fall prey to the lure of social media, but this article reaffirms the need to mono-task, not multi-task.

Most teens swear by multitasking, but don’t listen to them. In every essay coaching session I do, I get on my soap box about the dangers of multitasking, because it’s nearly impossible to write well unless you are mono-tasking. I strongly advise all my students to dive into their work without any distractions for 45 minutes each hour and then take a 15 minute “tech” break to catch up on social media, get a snack, or just walk around. At least experiment with this and see how much more effective you are, I tell them. Several students have told me they’re “amazed” by how much more efficient they are when they do their work without any distractions.

This is a great article to share with teens, because the evidence is clear. Multitasking isn’t good for your brain, your grades, or your future employment.


Booking Up

Thanks to the 114 parents and students who attend my free talk on Writing Your College Essay on May 31st! It was standing room only. I shared lots of tips and insights about what colleges are looking for in the essay and how a personal essay works.

My June and early July dates are booking up, so contact me soon if you want to get a jump on writing the essay. Remember: I don’t just edit the essay. I teach my students how to write more vividly and effectively. My students go to college with a new set of skills and greater confidence in their writing. Many tell me that their college essay is “the best thing I’ve ever written.” And that makes me very, very happy.

Mark Your Calendar! Free College Essay Talk

I will give my annual free talk on “How to Write Your College Essay” on Sunday, May 31st, at 7 pm in the auditorium of the Arlington County Central Library. This one-hour talk will give an overview of how college essays fit into the application process and include suggestions on how to write your best personal essay. There will be time for questions at the end.

Hope to see you there!

Food for Thought

admission imageIf you’re looking at my website, chances are you have a high school student.  Please read this thought provoking blog post by a former admissions director.  Life has changed since most of us applied to college, and many of the Ivies and “elite” schools have acceptance rates of 10% or less.  Think about it.  Stanford’s is more like 5%, and that includes the recruited athletes who usually get in early admission.

So what to do? Help your child (and yourself) enjoy his or her last years at home. (You’ll miss him or her. I miss mine terribly.) Let her sleep.  Have fun doing what he wants to do together – a movie, a hike, an Imax film downtown.  Don’t encourage that extra Advanced Placement class, because it probably doesn’t matter that much in the long run and might produce only stress and anguish now.  Your child should challenge himself in the areas he loves and also pursue extracurricular activities in those areas.  Far too many students in the DC area are stressed and unhappy and seek to relieve both in unhealthy ways, such as drinking and drugs.  Above all, listen to your child’s voice  above the cacophony of competitive parents, statistics, and scary articles.  There are many, many ways to be happy and successful.

And, if your child would benefit from some essay coaching and one less area of stress between you, contact me.  I really do love working with teens to find their distinctive, authentic and persuasive voice.  That’s another skill they’ll use the rest of their lives.