#3 impact of email overload on psychological health in the workplace

Attention Deficit Disorder

There’s a term for what we’re becoming due to this bombardment of information: “pseudo ADD.” This term was coined by two Harvard psychology professors who noticed that many people are experiencing a shortened attention span because of advances in communication.

Those affected do not have what is considered clinical Attention Deficit Disorder; they simply cannot focus on a task without compulsively checking their e-mail, voice mail and/or surfing the Internet.

In fact, a sustained negative neurological effect of information overload has been identified by psychiatrist E.M. Hallowell. He has called this effect Attention Deficit Trait, or ADT. ‘It isn’t an illness; it’s purely a response to the hyperkinetic environment in which we live....

When a manager is desperately trying to deal with more input than he possibly can, the brain and body get locked into a reverberating circuit while the brain’s frontal lobes lose their sophistication, as if vinegar were added to wine.

The result is black-and-white thinking; perspective and shades of grey disappear. People with ADT have difficulty staying organised, setting priorities, and managing time, and they feel a constant low level of panic and guilt.

It seems that being connected all the time will lead us to a major ‘disconnect’!

Steuart Snooks