Are you ADHD or just overwhelmed by life today (OBLT)?

Red path across labyrinth isolated on whiteIt’s amazing how many people THINK they have ADHD or ADD, when in reality, they are just overwhelmed by life today (Hammerness and Moore 4). We live in a society of instant gratification where we our attention is pulled in so many directions with so many demands on our time, we often feel like we cannot concentrate on anything. But, Hammerness and Moore believe that while you may be disorganized your brain isn’t (12). Apparently, we just need to know how to use it properly.

Yesterday I tossed around some statistics on distracted driving but in some of those same studies at least 50% of the distracted drivers were distracted by something outside the vehicle, a road sign, construction or another driver (Hammerness and Moore 13). So it’s not just texting and talking on the cell phone that’s causing our attention to wander. If it’s not just those, then what is causing the distraction?

Hammerness and Moore cite six principles to getting your brain focused – they call them the Rule of Order.

  • Tame The Frenzy: quietly in control (Hammerness and Moore 14-15). What a nice phrase that is. Ever watch any of those doctor shows and you notice the emergency room doctors are moving quickly but seem “quietly in control?” Taming the frenzy means getting yourself under control first. I had to do this yesterday when it seemed I had numerous demands and not nearly enough time to accomplish any of them. I took about 20 minutes to organize my day and suddenly everything seemed achievable.
  • Sustain Attention: sustained focus is a fundamental building block of organized behavior. The ability to properly handle all the noise from the environment and prioritize it while not being pulled off the main task is an important sign of the organized brain  (Hammerness and Moore 16). BTW, shutting off the audible email or text alerts, particularly that annoying whistle sound that some people use (that one that sounds like someone whistling for you to come here), will help you sustain attention to the truly important things in your life.
  • Apply the Brakes: organized brains must be able to stop an action or a thought  (Hammerness and Moore 16). What the authors mean by this is the ability to, while focused on one thing and then suddenly interrupted with a thought to do something else, to have the ability to set that interrupting thought aside and continue to focus on the task at hand. It’s the ability to NOT stop everything you’re doing every time a new email, text or meeting request pops in.
  • Mold Information: we all have the ability to hold in formation in our head after we’ve seen or experienced it, and we have the ability to process and analyze that information – it’s called representational thinking (Hammerness and Moore 17). Organized people have a higher ability to retain and manipulate the information or ideas and consider it from different perspectives. Representational thinking is more reflective in nature, rather than reactive – the difference being the ability to step outside of ourselves and reflect rather than gut-reacting (Hammerness and Moore 18).
  • Shift Sets: the organized brain is always ready for the change (Hammerness and Moore 18). There’s a reason we love Peyton Manning here in Denver. The “Sheriff” is just awesome. His ability to call an audible is amazing. He can assess the defensive set, even the players the defense has put onto the field, and make an adjustment. This cognitive flexibility allows us to weigh the relative importance of competing stimuli and be ready to move to the next task if necessary (Hammerness and Moore 19).
  • Connect the Dots: organized and efficient individuals are able to pull all of the aforementioned together and make better decisions, solve problems and take advantage of opportunities. 

Now that you know the Rules of Order, it’s time to start figuring out how to apply them in our lives. Before tomorrow’s post, what are some ways you think you could use to get control of the frenzy? What is one thing you could do to feel a little less overwhelmed by life today?

Hammerness, Paul Graves., Margaret Moore, and John Hanc. Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life: Train Your Brain to Get More Done in Less Time. New York: Harlequin, 2012. Print.

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