Thanks to the busy lives that we lead, more and more people now complain about being chronically disorganized and inattentive. They often wonder if they have the Attention Deficit Disorder. Some of them do suffer from this condition, but most people don’t have ADD. Instead, what they have is a ‘severe case of modern life’. While this condition has the same symptoms as ADD, it is a side effect of our crazy lifestyle.
Why we like being ‘crazy busy’?
It might sound silly, but people enjoy being crazy busy because it makes them feel more important. Who doesn’t want to be important? If you’re busy, isn’t that a clear signal that you are in demand? Unfortunately, this is an illusion. People also experience an adrenalin rush, when they speed through life. After a while, they become hooked to speed.
Nowadays we have access to numerous tools that make us believe that we can achieve just about anything we want. Take for instance, the case of a modern mother. She has three young kids, a demanding career, a pet and herself to take care of. She wouldn’t be able to manage all of these if there were no cellphones, email or voicemail. So, technology has made many things possible. While juggling a career and a home can be quite demanding, it is not boring. And a young mother who manages a home and a career feels like a super woman. Yes, she leads a stressful life, but she enjoys it nonetheless.
So, what is the problem?
There is joy in stretching our limits. Accomplishments make us feel good. But when you push yourself too much, too fast, you are exhausting yourself. This can be dangerous. In this overloaded world, you can find yourself short of time and attention even before you start doing your day’s work. What’s more, when you rush through things, the quality suffers.
Psychologists often talk about the ‘C-State’ and the ‘F-State’. When a person is in the ‘C-state’, they are calm, cool and collected. When you’re in the ‘F-state’, you are frenzied, flustered or frustrated. You get irritated easily. You can’t deliver satisfactory performance. We often cross the boundaries of one state and enter the other without noticing the interlude of warning that separates them.
Listen to that little voice in your heard. Every time you hear the whisper that you are about to lose it, you should go back and take a break. It might save your career and relationships.
Is attention management more important than time management?
Organization is crucial for managing stressful thoughts. Psychologists often advise people to get organized. Disorganization is a big problem, but in most cases, that is not the real problem. Even organized people can get overwhelmed by the complexities of modern life. When you have got to do so much in a day, your attention gets split in various directions. This will affect the quality of your work. So, instead of trying to do numerous things at a time, focus on just one thing. Pay attention. Don’t be a victim of your own enthusiasm. Train yourself to stay on task. The Zen mind favors simplicity.
You must prioritize. There is a limit to what you can accomplish in a day. Learn to say ‘No’ to people and activities that are not important to you. Instead, focus on connections and activities that add meaning to your life. You need to regain control of your life, if you want to retain your sanity. And when you are sane, you will get to enjoy the little pleasures of your marriage, your kids’ childhoods and these precious years on the planet.
Managing stressful thoughts becomes easier when you know what your priorities are. Nobody is going to be here forever. So make the most of your time. That is what Zen masters advise.
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