Is being constantly connected hurting your chances of success as much as smoking dope? You wouldn’t think of smoking pot throughout your workday, would you? However, if you’re wired to the max and married to your e-mail you may as well be.
Back in 2005, CNN ran an article about a British study that concluded Emails Hurt IQ More than Pot. Besides being an outstanding and eye grabbing headline, the study made some useful insights such as:
In 80 clinical trials, Dr. Glenn Wilson, a psychiatrist at King’s College London University, monitored the IQ of workers throughout the day.
He found the IQ of those who tried to juggle messages and work fell by 10 points — the equivalent to missing a whole night’s sleep and more than double the 4-point fall seen after smoking marijuana.
So all this multi-tasking not only makes you less productive, it also makes you dumber. This might explain why we’re all working so much harder, getting less accomplished, and liking each other a little less in the process (at least in the corporate office it seems less friendly than it did 10-15 years ago).
Not to mention the little fact that we are all so wired to the max that it is downright exhausting. We are plain old over stimulated and that leads to a lot of unnecessary stress and ultimately burnout. You can’t plug a 100 watt light bulb into a 60 watt socket for very long until you start to see signs of a major problem brewing. The same holds true for our ability to handle the demands of being constantly at someone else’s “beck and call”.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being connected. I have my internet access and my cell phone and use both liberally. In fact I couldn’t imagine building my business without it. However, I also know the importance of being disconnected and focused for a period of time each day. As luck would have it, my coach has the perfect quote in her blog today on this very topic.
“I’m a busy guy but I set aside quiet time every morning and every evening to keep my equilibrium centered on my own path. I don’t like being swayed by anything that might be negative or damaging.”
::: Donald Trump
While I’m no fan of Donald Trump, you can’t deny the fact that the man is successful on his own terms (even if his style is radically different from my view of the world). And, for those among you who might be a bit skeptical or feel that some of what I say sounds too “simplistic” or “woo-woo”, it’s nice to have some diverse examples to share that demonstrate the application of the very concepts I am writing about.
Another great example of focus is Suze Orman. In a recent Time magazine article Help, I’ve Lost my Focus it goes on to explain how Suze refuses to multi-task. Not only won’t she do two things at once, but she prohibits anyone working for her to do so.
Personal-finance guru Suze Orman, despite an exhausting array of media and entrepreneurial commitments, utterly refuses to check messages, answer her phone or allow anything else to come between her and whatever she’s working on. “I do one thing at a time,” she says. “I do it well, and then I move on.”
Disconnect to Recharge, Refocus, and Get Smarter
If you’re someone who is connected via e-mail, cell phone, pager, blackberry, regular phone, etc., etc. this exercise could be perfect for you. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What would it take for me to find some quiet time each day to simply disconnect from the world and listen to my own thoughts and feelings?
- What am I most afraid will happen if I simply disconnect for a while?
So, take some time to live the old fashioned way — disconnected from the wall outlet and wi-fi. What have you got to lose?