Last year my former therapist helped me to better understand how my mind processed information in it’s seemingly chaotic fashion; she said that I was a crystalized thinker and that I approached tasks differently than many people. In psychology lingo, crystallized thinking (or processing) means divergent thinking; our brains function in a non-linear fashion and tend to be more right-brained than left. Since I’m also highly analytical, I also have good left-brain capabilities in spite of my propensity for non-linear problem solving.
Crystalized thinkers may work on a project a bit here, a little bit over there and may approach them any which way but straight. Many creative and artistic souls’ brains have been wired to approach tasks in stages. Likely many of you are on the same seemingly scattered wavelength. Our indirect approach to problem solving can trouble convergent thinkers who typically follow linear problem solving methods. Many artists, writers, musicians and even many business people are of the same ilk.
People who are more left-brained dominant and convergent can also be highly creative but take a different path than the crystallized folks. Convergent thinkers typically approach their creative problem solving from point A to point B to point C.
Here’s an example of my divergent mental processing as I attemped to get tasks accomplished in my apartment:
The other day, I wanted to put a photo on WordPress. To do this, I had to shrink the photo down to a manageable size in Photoshop. While waiting for the image to process, I took some CDs with booklets and put them into a large CD binder. I then went to my bedroom to look through another stack of CDs and determine which ones I wanted to put into the case. I did this a few times and went back and forth. Organizing CDs is an obsessive preoccupation that I’m aware is a bit odd.
As I returned to the living room, I stopped in the kitchenette and fiddled around with some items like business cards, bills and kitchen items that were very disorganized. I tried to consolidate them but got frustrated and went back to the CDs. Meanwhile, a movie was playing on my TV that I was trying to watch as well. I would stop the DVD player before I went into the bedroom so I wouldn’t miss a scene. In addition, I was gathering CDs to sell so I had to get some plastic cases and put the CDs and artwork in the cases.
Next, after doing the CD “organizing”, I went back to the photo on the computer and uploaded it. While that was happening, I put some empty picture frames in a loose order on another part the floor.
You probably get the idea of how my approach to tasks tends to go. Some people would say that I was multitasking. My family would say that I was scattered, drifty and ADD but that they loved me anyway.