Brainfood: Are you suffering from - Pseudo A.D.D

Do you have to check your e-mails every 10 seconds? Do you routinely look at your phone as you once did your watch? At the opera with clients, are you secretly reading your BlackBerry? If so, you may be suffering from what John Ratey, an associate professor at Harvard University Medical School, calls Pseudo Attention Deficit Disorder. Ratey found that the more gadgets we have to distract us, the more distracted we become. E-mails that bob up and down to get our attention and instant messaging make it difficult to stay in what psychologists call the 'flow'. Treatment is being devised in far-flung technical laboratories. Scientists predict that e-mails will one day rank themselves in terms of importance, knowing when not to interrupt. Meanwhile, it may be wise to follow the principles we teach our children, such as no dessert until you have eaten your main course. You can take your BlackBerry to the opera but you can only check it during intervals - and only if the client can't see you.

by Helen Kirwan-Taylor - helen@kirwantaylor.com
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

The CEO's guide to switching off

Too much hard work is counterproductive. Here four leaders share how they ease the pressure....

What Lego robots can teach us about motivating teams

People crave meaningful work, yet managers can so easily make it all seem futile.

What went wrong at Debenhams?

There are lessons in the high street store's sorry story.

How to find the right mentor or executive coach

One minute briefing: McDonald’s UK CEO Paul Pomroy.

What you don't want to copy from Silicon Valley

Workplace Evolution podcast: Twitter's former EMEA chief Bruce Daisley on Saturday emails, biased recruitment and...

Research: How the most effective CEOs spend their time

Do you prefer the big, cross-functional meeting or the one-to-one catch-up?