Edward M. Hallowell was an instructor at Harvard Medical School for 20 years and is now director of the Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health in Sudbury, Massachusetts. He is the author of Connect: 12 Vital Ties that Open Your Heart, Lengthen Your Life, and Deepen Your Soul and other books, including a authoritative study of Attention Deficit Disorder.
Do you always feel busy and under pressure of deadlines? Do you feel that there is no time to do all that you have to do? Do you often feel that catching up and having a clean desk are only dim possibilities for you? These are all symptoms of what Hallowell calls "CrazyBusy" — the modern phenomenon of brain over load that characterizes the lives of millions of people in our ultra-competitive, ultra-fast, attention-deficit society. Cell phontes, BlackBerries, e-mail 24/7, longer work days, and higher expectations are some of the causes of this debilitative condition that makes people feel mentally, physically, and spiritually drained.
Just as Attention Deficit Disorder can be managed, Hallowell believes that crazybusy can be used as a catalyst to a more richly developed life of connection, meaning, and transformation. He presents exercises on improving our ability to pay attention; suggestions on how to leave the F-State (frantic, frenzied, forgetful, frustrated) and enter the "C-sate" (clear, calm, cool, collected, consistent, concentrated, curious, creative, and courteous); ideas on regulating "The Rush, the Gush, the Worry and the Blather" as they surface every day; strategies for coming to terms with multi-tasking; steps for time management; examples of combining work and play to create new possibilities; and material on reconnecting with who and what are most important to you.
At the heart of this prescriptive guide is a chapter titled "Ten Key Principles to Managing Modern Life." Here we find tips that speak directly to the warps of crazybusy:
• Do what matters most to you.
• Create a positive emotional environment wherever you are.
• Find your rhythm.
• Invest your time wisely so as to get maximum return.
• Don't waste time screensucking (computers, televisions, etc.)
• Delegate what you don't like to do or are not good at.
• Slow down.
• Don't multitask ineffectively.
Hallowell has written a very helpful book that is filled with delightful illustrative material and imaginative terms that he has made up such as "gemmelsmerch" — the ubiquitous force that distracts us from whatever we're doing. The best lure for slowing down is a spiritual benefit: more opportunities to savor everyday joys.