The Task Epidemic: Overcoming Digital Burnout with the Brain in Mind

In today’s always-connected world, people face a constant stream of tasks, known as the Task Epidemic. The never-ending demands of modern life, filled with immediate tasks, harm productivity and impact mental and physical well-being. Recognising the urgency to tackle this issue, those dedicated to human well-being understand how it affects critical thinking, imagination, and overall health, affecting individuals, families, communities, businesses, and governments daily.

The scenario is daunting, yet within this challenge lies an opportunity for transformation. By making neuroscience accessible to everyone, a unique F.O.O.D. framework™ emerges as a beacon of hope. Inspired by luminaries like Antonio Damasio and Albert Einstein, this framework offers a roadmap to navigate the turbulent waters of digital burnout and emerge with enhanced adaptability and resilience.

Damasio’s profound insight, “we are feeling machines that think,” and Einstein’s reflection on the intuitive mind versus the rational mind lay the foundation for understanding the roots of the Task Epidemic. The last decade has witnessed a societal shift towards prioritising immediacy and execution at the expense of deep thinking and creativity.

However, the tide is turning. As artificial intelligence takes the reins of routine tasks, the premium on human creativity surges. The resurgence of the art of imagination beckons, and now is the opportune moment to leverage neuroscience to rewire our brains for success.

The Mountainous Tasks

Imagine our tasks and goals as mountains to climb.

Often, we push ourselves incessantly, thinking that once we reach the summit, we can rest. The cruel irony is that, at the peak, we immediately set our sights on another summit. This perpetual climb denies our brains the respite they crave and stifles creativity recovery.

The way we used to do things is no longer sufficient. Work about work continues to dominate our day.

What is “work about work” – it’s the activities that take time away from meaningful work, including communicating about work, searching for information, and switching between apps (Australian and New Zealand workers are using 11 apps and switching between them 27 times a day – the second highest of any country surveyed), managing shifting priorities, endless amounts of meetings and following up on the status of work.

Despite considerable investment, knowledge workers in Australia and New Zealand (A.N.Z.) are spending 58% of their time on work about work and Singapore workers are spending 62% of their time on work about work.

This detracts from the time teams spend on actual skilled work they were hired to do.

The same research discovered burnout is on the rise, with almost 8 in 10 A.N.Z. workers experiencing burnout (77%), above the global average of 71%. Statistics reveal that 92% of serious mental health concerns in the Australian workplace are attributed to work-related stressors, and alongside the individual impact, these conditions cost businesses $10.9 billion per year.

In an age of constant digital input, where the pressure to be ‘doing’ never ceases, how can we efficiently manage our tasks and complete our daily to-do lists?

The F.O.O.D Framework™ Unveiled

  1. Fuel Your Brain with the Right Ingredients

Central to the F.O.O.D. Framework™ is the belief that our brain’s optimal functioning relies on the right ingredients.

Drawing from the book “REWIRE for SUCCESS,” the framework delves into proven models of behaviour, health, well-being, and adaptability. This first pillar invites individuals to consider the diverse options available, recognising that what fuels one brain may differ from another. It is a call to customise your approach, selecting the ingredients that align best with your unique brain and body composition.

  1. Organise Your Daily Structure Based on Peak Performance

Understanding and harnessing your deep thinking time is the second crucial element of the F.O.O.D. Framework™.

Inspired by the key objective of creating an easily digestible guide in “REWIRE for SUCCESS,” this pillar encourages individuals to organise their daily structure around peak performance times. You can maximise productivity during these periods by identifying when you do your best thinking. Typically, people have about three to four hours of prime productivity in every 24-hour cycle. Recognising and capitalising on this period is crucial for tackling tasks that demand creativity, problem-solving, decision-making, and emotional intelligence.

  1. Overcome Obstacles with the Brain in Mind

As the Task Epidemic rages on, overcoming obstacles becomes a vital skill.

The F.O.O.D. Framework™ addresses this by guiding individuals to confront challenges with the brain in mind. Understanding that distractions, stress, and disruptions are inevitable, this pillar advocates for a proactive risk management plan. By acknowledging and mitigating risks to peak performance time, individuals can maintain a ‘reward state’ for the brain, preventing threat-induced interruptions.

  1. Drive the Right Behaviours, Mindset, and Passion

In the wake of escalating workplace stress, absenteeism, and the toll on economies, the F.O.O.D. Framework™ offers a powerful prescription for driving the right behaviours, mindset, and passion. Applying in bite-size chunks, this pillar underscores the importance of aligning daily actions with desired outcomes. It encourages individuals to cultivate a mindset that fosters adaptability, resilience, and a passion for achieving their goals.

The Urgent Need for The F.O.O.D. Framework™

As statistics reveal the staggering costs of absenteeism and stress-related illnesses in workplaces, the relevance of the F.O.O.D. Framework™ becomes even more apparent. An estimated 9.7 days of unplanned leave per year in Australian workplaces costs $44 billion annually.

Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, has been observing employees in the field for almost two decades. Today, workers spend an average of 47 seconds—less than a minute per task before shifting focus, and when interrupted or distracted, it can take on average of 25 minutes to return to the original task—a phenomenon known as the switch cost effect. “People know they are falling down this rabbit hole of distraction and multitasking craziness, but they don’t know how to get out,” Mark says.  

Distractions cost the average knowledge worker an estimated 600 hours of stolen attention yearly, compared to an average of 568 hours across the 10 developed economies studied. Researchers from Economist Impact put the subsequent annual cost for Australian businesses at $27,585 per employee, or the equivalent of 29 per cent of average baseline pay.

The loss of focus, or unproductive periods, leads to missed opportunities for producing valuable work. At a company level, deep focus is essential for producing valuable insights that can lead to improved products, services or processes – and, therefore, higher profits.


In conclusion, the F.O.O.D. Framework™ emerges as a solution to digital burnout and a revolutionary guide for achieving a work/life balance. It invites individuals to recognise the power of their brains, understand the diverse options available for optimal functioning, and take deliberate steps towards a healthier, more balanced life. As we confront the Task Epidemic, let the F.O.O.D. Framework™ be our ally in reclaiming control over our cognitive destiny and fostering a future where the well-being of individuals and economies thrives.

Regular breaks and increased oxygen intake are indispensable to embark on the journey of improvement and self-optimisation. By incorporating the F.O.O.D. framework™ into daily life, individuals can reclaim their cognitive autonomy, fostering personal growth and contributing to a collective shift away from the Task Epidemic. As we navigate the digital landscape, let us heed the wisdom of neuroscience to craft a future where human potential flourishes, unburdened by the shackles of incessant tasks.


Meet Vannessa McCamley: Empowering Growth and Success through Neuroscience

Vannessa McCamley is an esteemed authority in leadership and performance, dedicating her expertise to leveraging neuroscience practices that drive meaningful growth for individuals, teams, and businesses. With a profound understanding of the human brain, she guides her clients towards measurable results while prioritising well-being.

With a genuine passion for helping people and organisations overcome obstacles, Vannessa enables them to surpass their strategic goals. Drawing from her extensive 20-year business background, she collaborates with individuals across various industries and at all levels of the corporate ladder.

As an accomplished author, Vannessa shares her insights in her groundbreaking book, “REWIRE for SUCCESS.” This accessible guide serves as a roadmap for using neuroscience to make better choices in work, life, and overall well-being. By integrating scientific principles into practical applications, Vannessa empowers readers to unlock their potential and create a more fulfilling existence.

Vannessa McCamley’s approach is deeply rooted in the understanding that success is not just about achieving outcomes but also about maintaining a healthy balance. By combining her profound knowledge of neuroscience with her genuine care for individual and organisational growth, she paves the way for transformative change and sustainable success.

Get ready to tap into the power of neuroscience and embark on a journey towards personal and professional growth with Vannessa McCamley as your trusted guide.
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