In connection with your post the other day (the gist of which was "cancer is not the only yardstick") I will share related experiences. The effort that currently occupies my time is the effort to gain enough knowledge and experience to work
in medicine someday, and it also makes me frequently unavailable to friends, loved ones and myself: sometimes it's all I can do to come home and not snap at people.
The immediate stakes are lower, but it's still a bandwidth hog. And, I guess, the purpose of this comment is to convey to you that we've developed language around it: "bandwidth" is usually a very good metaphor for acknowledging the problem. Sometimes I can't be in the room at all, because I'm somewhere else doing something. Sometimes I'm in the room, but not all of me is in the room: part of my brain is sleeping
, or I'm struggling to sequence my next study task. Sometimes I
need more bandwidth than I have, to do my own stuff, and it's frustrating to run up against limits: "Really, it's going to take four hours to download that chemistry concept into my head?... Gaah!"
Although the things that take you out of the room are ultimately more stressful and painful than the things that take me out of the room, I share the bandwidth metaphor in the hopes that it might be useful to you on a day to day basis. It's a tool that doesn't solve problems all by itself, but names them - and sometimes tagging what's going on makes everyone less tense about it.