In this era of information overload, it’s easy to point our fingers at the internet and all its glorious distractions for turning us into scatterbrains. Yet, as those of us whose tendency to forget our keys in the mailbox or our coffee on the car roof started way before the advent of Twitter know, there’s a line between getting easily distracted now and then and being a full-fledged scatterbrain. For a true scatterbrain, daily life is both a struggle and infinitely interesting — and the internet has nothing to do with it.
A recent study of those of us who are prone to this kind of accidental flakiness suggests that our tendencies are caused by having a lot of “seemingly irrelevant information” overwhelming our minds. This overload leaves our working memory unable to process things (like what we were doing a minute ago, before we got distracted) clearly. As someone who has come to terms with my scatterbrained tendencies, I can attest to having what feels like a dozen thoughts going on inside my mind at once —which on more than occasion lead to a misplaced cell phone and house keys left hanging in the front door. But being scatterbrained doesn't mean you're not smart — we're some of the most intelligent and creative people around, because our unfocused minds enable us to be highly imaginative (which is totally a fair trade for all those time we left the house with the curling iron still plugged in).
So if your thoughts pour out at a speed that your brain can't seem to process and more than one person has described you as "all over the place," I feel you. Here are eight telltale signs you’re a full- fledged scatterbrain. I'd say "Welcome to the club," but I seem to have misplaced our membership materials...
1. Your Internet Crashes Daily Due To The Million Tabs You Have Open
Over the course of 10 minutes, you jump from googling watermelon cocktail recipes, to researching the possible root cause of mysterious bruises on your legs to responding to work emails.
Even though you know that multitasking lowers the quality of your work (and probably isn't making your scatterbrain situation any better), your wandering mind won’t back down. So much so that if you’re using Google Chrome, you’ve probably received the crash message of “Aw Snap,” accompanied by the sound of your computer’s fan overexerting itself, at least once this week. Simply put, your own internet can’t keep up with your brain.
2. You Suffer From A Regular Case Of Analysis Paralysis
Whether you just heard shocking news about your best friend’s breakup or received a questionable remark from your partner about your new haircut, one thing’s for certain: your mind is ready to dissect and analyze every single bit of information it comes across, and try to figure out what it means. For a scatterbrain, thinking in circles is a daily occurrence; your mind becomes the director of your in-house soap opera, where you play all the starring roles.
3. Getting Ready To Leave The House Takes Five Times Longer Than You Planned
If you're reading this to try and figure out if you're a scatterbrain, see if this sounds familiar: You’re in the midst of getting dressed. Then, you get sidetracked by your growling stomach, so you grab a bite to eat. You pause, mid-meal, to rush back upstairs, only to forget what you'd wanted to do there. You wind up brushing your teeth instead.
Eventually, you’re at the door, realize that you’re only half dressed, then wind up getting distracted by a fascinating New Yorker article in your newsfeed (why are you looking at your phone in the first place?). End result: you are late to catch your bus (but hopefully you eventually remembered to put on pants). If this Olympic relay just to leave the house sounds familiar, then the verdict is in: you are most likely a scatterbrain.
4. You Constantly Leave Your Essentials Behind
Congratulations! You’ve finally made it to the front door and are in the process of leaving your house. You’re rummaging through your pockets/ purse only to realize you have no idea where you left your keys. When you finally find them, you gleefully step outside.
It’s only when you’re a few miles away that you realize that you left your cell phone on the kitchen table. You mentally yell at yourself and either go back home to retrieve it, or spend the day phoneless, explaining your situation to friends who cluck their tongues.
5. You Have A Million New (Unrelated) Ideas Every Day
One minute, you’ve come up with a great idea for a pizza chain and are brainstorming catchy names. The next, you’ve come up with an idea for an invention that automatically folds everything in the same manner it was packaged in. The way your mind constantly fires on all cylinders can be frustrating in that it's sometimes tough to focus on a single idea for a long period of time — but this case of “chronic creativity” may have a silver lining to it. There are plenty of careers that hinge on your ability to frequently generate new and imaginative ideas — and look at you, you didn't even have to go to graduate school to learn how to do it!
6. It Looks Like A Bomb Went Off Inside Your Purse
It's not that you’re incredibly disorganized — you just need to pack up as much as you possibly could, because who knows where your day will take you? God forbid you decide to cave in to your pizza cravings and find that you've left your sanitizer at home. Or even worse, discover that you don’t have some half-crumpled tissues stashed in there, as well.
Though this is a trait of the chronically scatterbrained, our bags don't look that because we just dropped stuff in there and then forgot about it; rather, we were just trying to plan ahead for every possible scenario. So really, we were just trying to be responsible. A polite disclaimer to the people behind us waiting in line to pay: we might take a while to find our debit/credit cards, so bear with us.
7. You Have Read Half Of A Lot Of Books
You've almost definitely half-read many more books than you've actually finished. Why? You’re someone who’s highly curious and can’t help wanting to delve into many topics at once. Since there are only so many hours in a day, that leaves you with a nightstand full of books that you've gotten about 150 pages into. Also, you’ve more than likely got sidetracked from your novel by another promising novel that got rave reviews and is totally different from the first (Damn you, Goodreads!).You'll finish them all someday...maybe.
8.You Forget To Send The Attachment On Emails
Whether it be a friendly video attachment of you lip-syncing to the '90s classic “What is Love” or a CV for a job application, if you’re a scatterbrain, you’ve more than likely had your fair share of email attachment omissions. Sure it’s embarrassing, but it happens to the best of us. Word of advice: Save it as a draft and send it later, when you’re not in the midst of simultaneously texting, trying to remember your eighth grade English teacher's name and pondering your feelings about Ruby Rose on Orange Is The New Black.
9. You've Found Salvation Through Making Lists
As scattered as we are, there’s hope for our special tribe: lists. By writing down your daily tasks and ideas, you’re visually organizing and filtering your thoughts. As much as you can never full rid yourself of your chronic case of creativity, if you use techniques like list-making, you’ll be able to tame that inner scatterbrain in the long run so you can get sh*t done. Then you'll finally be able to find your keys, attach your attachments, and figure why you’re so attracted to Ruby Rose once and for all! Maybe.