April 04, 2011

How To Stay Sane In An Insane World

It’s a miracle anyone can keep his or her mind focused and clear these days.  We have content, devices and ubiquitous distribution all clamoring for our attention.

If you aren’t diligent, it’s easy to get swallowed up by it all. 

That’s what happened to my friend Rick.  A few years ago, he shared how depressed he was with me – and how we felt like he was losing his grip.  When I asked him about his waking to sleeping info-routine, he chronicled a typical New Economy professional’s life: Wake up, check email, surf social stream, post/update, interact, slam coffee, get to work, keep up with the flood, graze on more when you get home, check email before sleep --- repeat the next day.  And like Dr. Phil, I had to ask him, “how’s that working for you?” (For the full story, read the free excerpt “Feed Your Mind Good Stuff”)

Breakfast is not only the most important meal for your body, it sets your day’s mental tone as well.  And, if you don’t possess some info-recovery zones in your life, you just may come down with NEDS – New Economy Depression Syndrome.  A few years ago, I partnered with HeartMath Institute to conduct a survey/study on the impact of too-much-information and too-little-face-time.  (read the full results here)

For those that can’t unplug and get real, the results aren’t pretty.  Depression, anxiety, decreased performance and relationship difficulties are all outcomes of an insane information life – where technology owns you instead of you owning technology.   I’ve found a few ways, as an author and blogger, to avoid this trap:

 

  1. Don’t go online first thing.  Wait at least thirty minutes before you login to your email or social media websites.  Take it slowly, reading from a book that’s either helpful or inspirational – and rehearsing your coming day.  If you can, wait 45 minutes for best results.  Don’t worry, you won’t miss anything – and people still have your mobile or home phone number for true ASAP issues.
  2. Carve out offline zones in your schedule.  At SAS Institute, employees are given after 5pm and weekends offline.  Not just ‘off’, but offline – where they are not expected to check email or even carry a blackberry/iPhone.  The result? Top company to work for in 2010.  Do the same for yourself and train everyone in your life to work around your schedule unavailability.
  3. Don’t carry information devices everywhere you go.  Don’t take a smart phone into the restaurant, have a real date instead.  Otherwise you risk checking your device instead of staying engaged with your partner, and when you do, you’ll be like those other disconnected (depressed) phone gazers sitting around you.
  4. Don’t use social tools that you don’t need to.  We are told “you need to blog” (2005), you need to be on LinkedIn and keep up (2006), you need to Tweet (2007), you need to Facebook (2008) and god-knows-what’s next.  Really? 

Pick your battles, measure the results and don’t get sucked into the Innovation Trap of social and new media.  Quit something today.

This is from Principle 1 from Today We Are Rich

 

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Posted at 9:20 AM in health and wellness  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)

Comments

Commentor

...ahm, I guess staying sane in this world is your choice...if you want to be insane then you will be insane...How to stay sane in this world? Staying sane is to keep a sound and healthy mind...learn to rest...:)..thanks Tim...

Commentor

Great words of wisdom, Tim! The social media and information age has come with the drawbacks of never being able to be away from work. it's important to take some time away from all that for yourself and your non-work relationships. It will make your life worth working so hard for.

Commentor

Well, the world is always insane for the people who loves to be insane but it is so much fun and perfectly good for the people like Mr.Sander who learns to find time to reward his life...Great post, Tim. Thank you!

Commentor

Your friend 'Rick'. His surname didn't happen to be 'Roll', did it? ;)

I should get out more.

Commentor

Completely agree with this post. In the last week or two I've been weaning myself off of the "always on" mentality, and feel so much more clear-headed. I was telling my wife how I think that Twitter inparticular feels like an energy vacuum. Consuming a fire hose of non-related tweets on a regular, if not habitual basis, does not create a clear and focused mind, rather quite the contrary. Perhaps less really is more ...

Commentor

Important post Tim, great job. I'm spreading this to my people. They need it. I need it. We all need to avoid the modern day plague (NEDS). For a beautiful graph that shows just how directly socialization and happiness and intense stress and worry are related go here:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/107692/Social-Time-Crucial-Daily-Emotional-WellBeing.aspx

Commentor

I'd rather to stay sane than to be insane. Problems are always there that is already part of our everyday life but we should not let problems ruins us or make your mind insane. Life is so wonderful.

Commentor

Great post, Tim. Thank you!


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