For the past few weeks, I've been engaging in daily exercises through two "brain-training" apps: Elevate and Lumosity. They only take about five minutes each, across a series of different games, and aim to help with cognitive skills, like increasing recall, speeding up mental calculations, and - crucially - improving divided attention.
That last skill becomes particularly relevant on the days where I have to face the dreaded Lumosity koi pond, which purports to help with divided attention, or "the ability to simultaneously respond to multiple tasks or task demands."
They start you out in a koi pond with 5 fish, where you have 5 pellets to feed 5 fish. If you do so successfully, the next pond has 6 fish and 6 pellets. Then 7. And so on. It obviously gets harder and harder, made all the more difficult that the fish, well, swim around and all look alike and you can't tell them apart and forget which ones you've already fed.
I don't mind telling you, I'm pretty awesome at this game.
...Riiiiiiiight up until the pond with 10 fish. At which point, I have a tendency to LOSE MY MIND.
Me: "What do you MEAN, I already fed that one? But he was over THERE! And YOU! Who are YOU, to think you deserve an extra pellet?!? Why do I have 4 pellets left and only 3 fish I know I haven't fed yet?! Hold still!!!! Can't you see I'm trying to FEED YOU!!!"
It's been weeks, and I just cannot seem to make it past the 10-fish pond. I daydream about what happens at the next level. Is there even an 11-fish pond? I don't know!!! It can't go on forever, right? Why can't I divide my attention beyond ten freaking koi??
Apparently, koi can live up to 100-200 years. Those little suckers are going to outlast me. This is a game I cannot win...
...Unless I stop feeding them. In which case, they'll die.