The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

Brainpower For The Overwhelmed

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Thursday, February 27, 2014
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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 your time?

You very well could be suffering from SAAD – 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, when the pilots performance decreased. Information and technology will not go away. But there are ways to turn from “SAAD” 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 out your name on 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 I the places where we train it. Focus turns SADD into glad!

© The Resiliency Group.  All rights reserved. You may reprint this article so long as it remains intact with the byline and if all links are made live.

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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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