I was reminded the other day of a term coined by Edward Hallowell in his excellent and thought-provoking book, CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap! Strategies for Coping in a World Gone ADD.
Hallowell, an ex-Harvard Medical School specialist in Attention Deficit Disorder, has deduced that technology and the modern way of life & work is turning us all into ineffective wastrels who burn out by the time we’re 50.
He tells a story of how he was staying in a remote cottage which had one of the old rotary Bakelite telephones, and no mobile coverage, and the act of dialling his friend in a nearby village took so long (in reality only a few seconds… the number probably had lots of 8s, 9s and 0s in it), that he was getting madly frustrated. This set him thinking about how strange it was that a simple act of waiting 15 seconds or so for something that normally takes a snap on a push-button phone, should be enough to make him near apoplectic. He started finding similarities in the symptoms of ADD patients he’s treated, and normal people who just get frustrated, distracted, impatient etc, in the normal run of their daily lives.
He’s even coined some interesting new terminology:
Vocabulary for a crazy world
Screensucking: wasting time stuck on the internet or Blackberry when you could be doing some work
EMV or e-mail voice: the ghostly tone of voice people assume on the phone when they are talking to you and reading their e-mail at the same time
Frazzing: when you are multitasking ineffectively
Gemmelsmerch: the ubiquitous force that distracts us from whatever we are doing with the desire to start doing something else
Doomdarts: suddenly remembered commitments such as a birthday or an invitation that had slipped our minds in all that frazzing and screensucking
I particularly like EMV and Doomdarts – been there, done that, many times…