Overloaded Circuits And Adt

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Published on March 4, 2009

Author: mjd30331

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A view of why smart people under perform and strategies to improve thinking by Sally DeWitt based on “Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform,” by Edward M. Hallowell, MD. Harvard Business Review, January 2005
To Order the Article for online download: http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu

Overloaded Circuits and Strategies for Best Thinking Sally DeWitt February, 2005 Based on work by Edward M. Hallowell, MD

Why Smart People Underperform Overloaded Brain Circuits Brain Function Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Trait Strategies for Best Thinking

Overloaded Brain Circuits

Brain Function

Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Trait

Strategies for Best Thinking

What contributes to brain overload today? Increasing demands on our attention… Waterfall of information Tidal wave of tasks Relentless requests Ongoing shifts of context E-mail, phones, cell phones, voice-mail, text messaging, Blackberrys Push to do more with fewer people Expansion of world to encompass the globe Addiction to speed…do everything faster, faster, faster “ Never in history has the human brain been asked to track so many data points…”

Increasing demands on our attention…

Waterfall of information

Tidal wave of tasks

Relentless requests

Ongoing shifts of context

E-mail, phones, cell phones, voice-mail, text messaging, Blackberrys

Push to do more with fewer people

Expansion of world to encompass the globe

Addiction to speed…do everything faster, faster, faster

“ Never in history has the human brain been asked to track so many data points…”

What is the result? Fear or Panic Guilt that you can’t keep up—or can’t just suck it up Rushed in everything you do Curt or irritable Flexibility and creativity decline Working memory declines (the number of data points you can keep track of at once)

Fear or Panic

Guilt that you can’t keep up—or can’t just suck it up

Rushed in everything you do

Curt or irritable

Flexibility and creativity decline

Working memory declines (the number of data points you can keep track of at once)

This is your brain

Brain Overload: ADD and ADT Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD) Rooted in genetics, affects brain physically and chemically Attention Deficit Trait (ADT) Response to hyperkinetic environment Upon overload, brain fires signals of crisis: Fear Anxiety Impatience Irritability Anger Panic Impacts endocrine, respiratory, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and peripheral nervous systems

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD)

Rooted in genetics, affects brain physically and chemically

Attention Deficit Trait (ADT)

Response to hyperkinetic environment

Upon overload, brain fires signals of crisis:

Fear

Anxiety

Impatience

Irritability

Anger

Panic

Impacts endocrine, respiratory, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and peripheral nervous systems

ADT: Triggered by trying to deal with more input than you can Results in “survival mode” behavior: Impulsive judgments Hard to think clearly Black-and-white thinking Angrily rushing to closure on tasks, decision, etc. Robbed of flexibilty Sense of humor evaporates Forget big picture, goals, values Lose creativity and ability to change plans You may meltdown, blame others, sabotage self…or, go into avoidance mode and denial

Results in “survival mode” behavior:

Impulsive judgments

Hard to think clearly

Black-and-white thinking

Angrily rushing to closure on tasks, decision, etc.

Robbed of flexibilty

Sense of humor evaporates

Forget big picture, goals, values

Lose creativity and ability to change plans

You may meltdown, blame others, sabotage self…or, go into avoidance mode and denial

Strategies for Best Thinking: Preventative measures Promote positive emotions Create a trusting, connected work environment – promote brain power by fostering connections and reducing fear Have a friendly, face-to-face talk with a person you like every 4-6 hours

Promote positive emotions

Create a trusting, connected work environment – promote brain power by fostering connections and reducing fear

Have a friendly, face-to-face talk with a person you like every 4-6 hours

Strategies for Best Thinking: Preventative measures Take physical care of your brain Sleep Good diet, lower in refined carbohydrates Take a multivitamin and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement Exercise (your brain loves the chemicals that result from moving your body) Don’t drink much alcohol

Take physical care of your brain

Sleep

Good diet, lower in refined carbohydrates

Take a multivitamin and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement

Exercise (your brain loves the chemicals that result from moving your body)

Don’t drink much alcohol

Strategies for Best Thinking: Preventative measures Organize for ADT Keep your frontal lobes in control Break large tasks down into smaller ones Keep a section of your work space clear at all times Keep a portion of your day free of appointments and e-mail Limit your e-mail hours Attend to critical tasks first when you start your day…don’t get sucked into the e-mail or voice mail black hole At the end of the day, make a list of no more than 5 priorities for the next day Do your most important work during your best time of day Note how you work best (music, standing, walking around, etc.) and set up your work space to allow for it

Organize for ADT

Keep your frontal lobes in control

Break large tasks down into smaller ones

Keep a section of your work space clear at all times

Keep a portion of your day free of appointments and e-mail

Limit your e-mail hours

Attend to critical tasks first when you start your day…don’t get sucked into the e-mail or voice mail black hole

At the end of the day, make a list of no more than 5 priorities for the next day

Do your most important work during your best time of day

Note how you work best (music, standing, walking around, etc.) and set up your work space to allow for it

Strategies for Best Thinking: Preventative measures Protect your frontal lobes Take time to comprehend what’s going on Listen, ask questions, digest

Protect your frontal lobes

Take time to comprehend what’s going on

Listen, ask questions, digest

What to do if you begin to feel overwhelmed Slow down Do an easy rote task Move around Do not worry alone – ask for help, delegate, or brainstorm with a colleague

Slow down

Do an easy rote task

Move around

Do not worry alone – ask for help, delegate, or brainstorm with a colleague

Ramifications Discussion

Reference: “Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform,” by Edward M. Hallowell, MD. Harvard Business Review, January 2005 To Order the Article for online download: http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu

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