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I have installed and been training our staff on a new order entry, accounting system for the past two weeks and my brain is literally tired. Normally, I am very quick with most new systems, but because this system is rather complex and is cutting out 30 hours of paperwork a week, we are totally changing the way we do business. In addition, to the training I am doing all the testing as well as the task breakdown and keeping up with my normal workload.
We only have 2 "N"'s intuitives on our staff (me and a salesperson). All the other staff are S's who require step by step documentation on procedures. Unfortunately, I learn best through trial and error, so the documentation has almost been painful for me. (and nothing can be too perfect). The other N and I just went ahead and started trying the system even though we made mistakes (my motto is we can always fix it). The S's are hesitant to try the new system, and every time they hit a glitch, they report it as "the system has crashed and I can't go on."
I was reading a sports psychology book about being in the "zone." The zone is when the spatial right hemisphere gains control over the verbal conscious left. Being in the zone is when the spontaneous, synthetic, right brain is engaged. The mechanical, more slowly processing, analytic left brain hemisphere simply cannot achieve this experience. When we learn new skills, we need to engage the left brain so there is little or no chance to zone while in this state.
There are studies that show during periods of intense concentration, there is a marked decrease in the overall metabolic rate of the brain. The research indicates that the more skill one brings to a task, the more efficient the brain becomes. The studies showed as people improved their skills, PET imaging revealed cortical brain activity lessened significantly despite a 7-fold increase in performance.
Normally, I am in a very quiet thinking zone at work. It seems like I can work for hours without moving, but I can get huge amounts of complex work down in relatively short periods of time. People often say I look like I am in a trance (in the zone).
The studies showed that after much practice, subjects developed a set strategy for performance of tasks and thus user fewer brain circuits and/or fewer neurons per circuit with the resuting less overall brain activity. The metabolic rate decreases as the new skills are mastered, but there is one exception. The visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes visual imagery, has an increase in metabolic rate. The study speculates the participants were able to process more visual information as their skills increased or the subjects found their skills increasing by relying more on subconscious spatial strategies than conscious, non spatial strategies. (Right brain over left brain).
This week my eyes became very tired (too much adrenalin which causes the eyes to dilate) making it difficult to see clearly!! As a matter of fact, a co-worker, who does not tolerate stress well complained of extremely tired eyes this week as well. This probably contributed to the feeling of exhaustion and having to work hard to see screens and capture the information. I assume we were both looking at screens item by item, rather than capturing the whole screen in a snapshot.
I have decided to exercise before work this week rather than after and try some stretching after work to see if I can relieve the sore brain/sore eyes.... but I know from working in clothing factories, that it takes about 6 weeks to get to the zone state in learning new operations, so another 4 weeks and I should be set.