Wired to the Max: More Perilous than Pot

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?


6 thoughts on “Wired to the Max: More Perilous than Pot”

  1. fabulous article, paula! a great follow up to our telephone call the other night at the GLBT biz group!

    sometimes the simplest, yet most refreshing things seem SO hard to do. is it because the over-stimulation is addictive in some way???? it seems to me that it's the 'addictiveness' that keeps us stuck/in the cycle?

    your suggestion to UNPLUG is indeed something we can all do to break the addictive cycle.

  2. Great point Barb. I truly think over-stimulation and doing many things at once can be addictive. It makes us feel like we're in control, powerful, and "needed".

    I've found many people I work with first feel fear when they disconnect. What if someone can't reach me? What if I have to listen to my own thoughts and feelings and don't like what I hear?

    Thanks for sharing your comments and providing such a great forum in the GLBT Biz Group to explore such things. For those interested in the group — check it out at http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/GayBusiness

    It is a moderated group, but I know Barb would love to hear from you.

  3. most of us can only run for so long before we must refuel. it's all about balance. most of us know this 'intuitively' but many of us ignore the fact that the 'physical universe doesn't lie'.

    for example, if u are sleeping soundly most nights for 7-8 hours, you eat lots of fruits and veggies, you have a good marriage, you walk 3x's week, do yoga and you are relatively satisfied with your life, you probably have 'more in the tank' to push yourself right now than the person who is burning the candle at both ends, eats poorly most of the time, has constant conflicts with their spouse that never seems to get resolved and is usually short and abrupt with others.

    what are you doing right now to put some 'hgh quality' fuel in your tank??????

    paula, thanks for mentioning the GLBT Virtual Group for Business Owners. it won't be the 'great networking organization you're not utilizing' much longer!

    Barb Elgin, MSW, LCSW-C
    [email protected] http://www.coachsappho.com/2006/02/sign_up_today_
    Want to enjoy dating, being single, and find your soulmate too?
    We can help – Attend one of our FREE, 60 minute teleclasses
    "Discover the Secrets to Attracting the Relationship of Your Dreams"

  4. RE: Lesson 7
    Time again, we've all heard, "laughter is the best medicine." Thanks again Paula for adding more research to that and re-enlightening us about that key element we know makes a big difference in the quality of our lives. I hit a major point of burnout this week and just decided to shut down for about 24 hours. I took a break, including aspects of fun you outlined. I picked something I enjoyed and did lose myself doing. Could use more, but made a difference in reapplying myself to efforts that have been difficult. This also gets back to your point about reclaiming your time and energy and "The Life Wheel" which depicts at least an equal slice of that pie carved out for Fun & Relaxation. I'm a believer!

  5. Pingback: Coaching4Lesbians » Low-Tech Days = High CreativityInspiring Lesbian Business Owners and Professionals to Achieve Success without Burnout and Compromise

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