Which Way do you Look When the Sun Sets?

Nothing interferes with my concentration. You could put on an orgy in my office and I wouldn’t look up. Well, maybe once.
– Isaac Asimov –

National Geographic is running a Series called Test Your Brain. The episode I recently watched demonstrated how adept our brains are at focusing on the task at hand, and how dismal we actually are at multitasking. By multitasking, I mean doing two tasks at the same time, both requiring complete attention.

This isn’t the same as ‘background tasking‘, where we are doing one thing mindlessly while doing another thing that requires attention (like eating dinner while talking to our spouse or cleaning the house while listening to music.) It also isn’t the same as ‘task switching’ where we are alternately doing several things (like typing a blog post and talking on the phone.)

This amazing ability to focus is why we accomplish the things we set out to do! We achieve our best work when we tune out distractions and concentrate on one thing.

There are times, however, when it is a good idea to check to see if the distractions might be of value to us. If we paid more attention to diversions, we would know how magicians do their tricks. We would be able to stop a pick pocket before they took our wallet. We would be good witnesses to what happened at an accident. And we would look both east and west when the sun is going down!

A Sunset – looking West
The same sunset – looking East

I suppose I could write more about multitasking, but my brain has headed off on the topic of diversionary tactics, and I fear it won’t be back before lunch time…

31 thoughts on “Which Way do you Look When the Sun Sets?

  1. Love this and YES, it can be just as spectacular looking east when the sun is setting. I like the way you think………………….


  2. Hi,
    Great photos, the colours are really beautiful.
    Our brains are just so complex, some believe we only actually use a small % of our brains, if true, imagine what we should all really be capable of. 🙂


  3. Beautiful photos.
    I look west because east is blocked by trees. But if I’m in an open area, I look every directions in the sky.
    I think the brain is one of the last frontiers, the more we know the more questions that they have. 😉


    1. Hi EC – I have to walk out to the back of our property to see both east and west. The Car Guy has built me a little viewing platform so that I can see over the hedge!


    1. Hi yearstricken – I actually love this time of year because the sun rises and sets in a location I can see from our house! In the summer, I have to wander well beyond the tree line in order to see anything!


  4. Interesting. I can’t task switch to save my life! I end up doing a terrible job at both. Background switching is fairly easy for me, though.

    Those are fantastic pictures, Margie! How interesting that they look so different just because of the direction of the camera.


    1. Hi Anitgone – I’ve read that frequent task switching is actually a waste of time. We are much more efficient if we stick to one task, then do the other.


  5. When clouds or a sunrise or sunset capture my attention, nothing can distract me–at least for that moment or two. I can’t help but be present. Doing the dishes…well, my mind wanders…


    1. Hi Lorna – That is the great thing about some tasks – they are mindless enough to do on auto pilot while the mind goes on an adventure!


  6. Lovely! I think I just wrote the same thing – only about sunrises…..sunrise, sunset – both worthwhile distractions. Nice to stop by and stare west this morning.


    1. Hi Marcie – I can’t imagine even thinking about anything else when I watch the sun come up and go down… although sunrise often triggers thoughts of breakfast…


  7. I liked this post. I always look west at the sunset, perhaps because my bedroom windows face east and I almost always catch part of sunrise, at least in winter. My brother is a magician, and I must say, despite concentrating on his hands many of the illusions are still very hard to ‘see’. However, I too believe that multi-tasking gives you nothing but too badly done jobs. I like to lose myself in my arts, crafts and even farm chores, sinking into the moment and enjoying it. Is the product any better? Is the outcome superior? I am not sure, but I do know I enjoy the process more.


    1. Hi Katrina – I don’t like task switching unless I am doing things I don’t enjoy all that much! Then I switch back and forth between doing something I don’t really want to do, then something I enjoy!


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