Brainpower for the Overwhelmed
by Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE
Walk into the room and can’t find your keys? Or forget why you entered the
room in the first place? Wondering what has happened to your short term
memory? Feel overwhelmed by information, people, to-do lists and demands on
You very well could be suffering from SADD - situational attention deficit
disorder, a term coined by Anderson Consulting Institute for Strategic Change.
Specifically, most of us are now in situations in which we are bombarded by
so many demands for our attention that our brains close down.
It’s a phenomenon of our time. Our brains, evolved over eons to respond
to our environment and each other are exponentially being taxed by the growth
in information and technology. Everyone and everything is vying
for attention. We are hardwired to respond but when it’s deluged like that,
the brain just “goes blind”. Engineers discovered this phenomenon when
they installed hundreds of communication devices in cockpits, thinking it
would improve the pilot’s performance. Instead, the pilot’s performance decreased.
Information and technology will not go away. But there are ways to turn
from “SADD” to glad.
1. Determine your priorities and focus on them.
Don’t let yourself be pulled into anything from meetings, to readings, to
conversations that thwart your priorities. Literally block out space
on your daily to-do list for things that are important to you: from projects,
to exercise, to family time. Hold these times as sacred.
2. Say “no” to answering every message.
The average American receives 201 phone, paper, and e-mail messages a day.
Take care of those that are priority and let the rest drop off. Ignore the
messages that are uninvited and unnecessary.
3. Let technology work for you in prioritizing.
Caller ID and voice mail can allow you to screen calls. For those who
depend upon business coming in via phone and need to take every call, develop
a way to shorten incoming sales calls. Telemarketing calls that come in via
a computer dial-up have a few seconds of silence before a voice is heard.
If that’s the case, just hang up. If you are solicited, ask them to please
add your name to the DO NOT call list. And then hang up.
4. Create a centering place.
Whether it is in the silence of your car, or in a shower, or closing your
door, take 15 minutes per day to practice paying attention to ONE thing: your
breathing, a flower, a fish tank. Like the muscle in our bodies, the
brain gets strong in the places where we train it. Focus turns SADD
For over 20 years, Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE has consulted and addressed
organizations who seek to make a difference in the lives and the well-being
of their customers, stakeholders, and communities. Her ability to connect
with mind, heart, and spirit makes her one of the most sought-after international
keynoters. A dynamic speaker, she draws upon practical business know-how,
life's experiences, and years of consulting to national and international
organizations to help audiences discover and learn. She also serves as a high
level retreat facilitator and coach for helping managers wade through the
morass of systems and relationships.
Author of Work for a Living & Still be Free to Live, she's a
frequent contributor to numerous business journals and news magazines and
has appeared several times on CNN Headline News.
Visit her web site www.eileenmcdargh.com
or contact her at 949-496-8640.
More like this in Personal Development in The
CEO Refresher Archives