Brain Space [en]

[fr] Mon amie Steph a utilisé hier au téléphone l'expression "brain space" pour exprimer qu'une tâche était peut-être minime mais qu'elle occupait beaucoup de place dans son esprit (dans le genre envahissante). Je cherche une bonne expression en français, mais j'échoue: "espace mental", peut-être?

Yesterday, I was having a lovely “catch up” phone call with my good friend Stephanie Troeth. At one point, she mentioned something that wasn’t a huge project but it “took up brain space”.

I thought, “Brain space! What a great expression!”

Of course, it’s about stress, attention, you name it — but I think that “brain space” is a really good way to express what it feels like.

Regularly, I’m asked to do a small thing (or worse, I volunteer) and it ends up eating at my ability to focus on something else. It’s on the “stress-list”. It’s the thing I’m asked to do but I’m not really supposed to be doing, so I have to use up energy to explain that to the client. It’s the thing that seemed simple initially but ends up having an emotional charge that is more important than expected. It can even be my taxes, which I put off doing each year until it’s really really late (think October or even November, people).

David Allen’s Getting Things Done method also recognizes that each “thing you have to do” eats a certain amount of storage space, irrespectively of how large the thing actually is. Hence the lists. Getting things out of your head.

Over the past year, I’ve been trying to learn to say no to assignments which will use up too much brain space. I’m getting better at it, but it’s not completely painless yet. I’m also very much aware that I’m flirting with the limits of how many different projects or clients I can have, or even how many friendships I can keep alive (Dunbar’s number, anyone?) — even with the help of technology, which in my opinion does allow one to push those limits further.

Thanks to Steph, I now have a new way of classifying tasks and activities, by the amount of brain space they take up.

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