CrazyBusy: 10 Key Principles to Focus in a World of Distraction
Modern life has gone wild. The rush, the gush and forces of gemmelsmerch can overpower you. The average person handles more data points in one day than he or she handled in a month just a decade ago. E-Mail, Texting, Facebook, I-phones and the like 24/7 have created exciting opportunities, but they have also created unique and potentially catastrophic problems never before seen in human history. If you’re not careful, you will get so busy that you will never stop and think at work or home.
ADHD expert and New York Times best-selling author, Dr. Edward M. Hallowell offers the following 10 principles to managing your time, attention and energy in this Crazybusy world.
- DO WHAT MATTERS MOST TO YOU (the most common casualty of an excessively busy life): Don’t spread yourself too thin – you must choose, you must prioritize. In order to both do well and to be happy, you must say, “No thank you,” to many projects, people and ideas. “Cultivate your lilies and get rid of your leeches.”
- CREATE A POSITIVE EMOTIONAL ENVIRONMENT (wherever you are): When the emotional atmosphere is less than positive, people lose flexibility, the ability to deal with ambiguity and complexity, trust, enthusiasm, patience, humor, and creativity. When you feel safe and secure, you feel welcomed and appreciated, you think better, behave better, and are better able to help others.
- FIND YOUR RHYTHM: Get in the “zone”, follow your “flow” – research has proven that this state of mind elevates all that you do to its highest level. When you find your rhythm, you allow your day to be taken care of by the automatic pilot in your brain, so the creative, thinking part can attend to what it is uniquely qualified to attend to.
- INVEST YOUR TIME WISELY so as to get maximum return: Try not to let time be stolen from you or let yourself fritter it away – use the Time Value Assessment to guide you in what to add, preserve, cut back on, and eliminate.
- DON’T WASTE TIME SCREEN SUCKING (a modern addiction – the withdrawal of looking at a computer/BlackBerry/etc. screen): Break the habit of having to be near your computer at all times by changing your environment or structure – move your screen to a different room; schedule an amount of time you are allowed to be on the computer; plan mandatory breaks.
- IDENTIFY AND CONTROL THE SOURCES OF GEMMELSMERCH IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT: Gemmelsmerch, the force that distracts a person from what he or she wants to or ought to be doing, is as pervasive and powerful as gravity.
- DELEGATE: Delegate what you don’t like to do or are not good at if you possibly can. Your goal should be not to be independent, but rather effectively interdependent. You do for me and I do for you – this is what makes life possible.
- SLOW DOWN: Stop and think. As yourself, what’s your hurry? Why wake up, already impatient, and rush around and try to squeeze in more things than you should, thereby leading you to do all of it less well? Your hurry is your enemy.
- DON’T MULTITASK INEFFECTIVELY (avoid frazzling): Give one task your full attention. You will do it better. You may eventually get so good at it that your conscious mind can attend to other aspects of the task other than menial ones. This is the only way a human can multitask effectively.
- PLAY: Imaginatively engage with what you are doing. This will bring out the best part of your mind, focus you on your task, and make you more effective and efficient.
Adapted from CrazyBusy Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap! Strategies for Coping in a World Gone ADD, Ballentine, NY, 2006.
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- CrazyBusy: 10 Key Principles to Focus in a World of Distraction
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