Concept of the day: Attention Deficit Trait (ADT)

Need a hand Grandad?I’ve just finished reading a Harvard Business Review OnPoint called Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform. This talks about attention deficit trait (ADT). The Harvard article comes at a cost but the article in Time has a good overview, as does the CNET article.

Frenzied executives who fidget through meetings, miss appointments, and jab at the elevator’s “door close” button aren’t crazy – just crazed. They’re suffering from a newly recognized neurological phenomenon call attention deficit trait (ADT). Marked by distractibility, inner frenzy, and impatience, ADT prevents managers from clarifying priorities, making smart decisions, and managing their time. This insidious condition turns otherwise talented performers into harried underachievers. And it’s reaching epidemic proportions”

Sound like anyone you know?

It seems that ADT is completely caused by our environment, by the office, by the technology, by relationships.

So how do we control it:

  • Promote positive emotions
  • Take physical care of our brains
  • Organise for ADT

ADT is closely related to the way that our brain reacts to fear so it’s important to promote positive feelings through stressful times. Positive feelings are also associated with good relationships. The author recommends interacting with someone you like at least every 4 to 6 hours. That’s an interesting thing for someone who mainly works at home to hear.

I’ve talked before about the physical side of looking after our brain, sleep, diet, etc. It’s a good reminder that I’ve let it slip a bit recently.

Organising for ADT is about creating the space and time to think away from all of the distractions. This isn’t just time management, but it’s also managing things out.

I was talking to someone who runs a huge fund in New York, and he was saying he demands that his employees take several days a month just to think–to leave the office and just go off and think. He wants them to not bring their e-mail, not bring their cell phone–make themselves unavailable. And I think it’s a really smart management strategy.

Organisations used to give people sabbaticals, some still do. In a world that is increasingly asking for for “fast” rather than “right” I think that people are increasingly going to need times to reconnect with “right”.

Thought of the day: Occam's Razor

Up to where?In my last post I quoted KC Lemson and she used the phrase:

“So we thought about occam’s razor and realized that ah-ha, the problem is just that the facilities people are dumb”

I realised that I hadn’t a clue what Occam’s Razor was so I’ve done some digging.

Well Occam is a someone – William of Ockham (interesting how words change over time*).

Occam’s Razor (or Ockham’s Razor) is the principle that: “Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.”  Or in slightly longer words from Isaac Newton: “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.” It’s also paraphrased: “All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the best one.”

*My name is another one of those words that has changed over time “Chastney” comes from “chĂȘnaie” from the French for Oak Grove and has changed over time to “Cheney”, “Chesney”, “Chesnay”, “Cheyney”, and on it goes.

(Update: Nik pointed out that I assigned KC to the wrong gender, I have modified this. It’s amazing what different one letter can make.)

Happy Danish: Unhappy British

Jimmy and Grandad take a trip to LondonAs a follow up to my post yesterday on Happy Hour is 9 to 5 and the Chief Happiness Officer.

It came to light today that Europe’s happiest people are the Danish, nice to know I was reading a book written by one of the happy people. As someone who is from the lower order of happy people I think I have something to learn .

Word of the Day: De-portalize

Baby tries to get to the dog foodDe-portalize has cropped up in a few posts recently.

The basic premise is this: The value of a portal was in its ability to aggregate together everything in one place, the failure of the portal was the inability of the portal to get people to information quickly. Rather than using portals, people preferred search, once they have found something they then use tagging, adding favourites and subscription.

I have never been a fan of portals. I’ve never seen the point, they’ve never been able to answer the question that I’m asking. I consume a steady stream of information, most of it via subscription, there are then a number of sites that I go to, but most of them are accessed via favourites, the rest of the time I use search.

The emerging generation are exactly the same. Emily (10) accesses a few games on the Internet, she never remembers the URL of them, she relies on Google to get her there.

One of my pastimes is to operate the web site of our church. More than 50% of the traffic comes to the site via search, another 10 is referral. The other 40% is people who come direct, but I’m sure many of them are using favourites, I know I am. The front page stands as a place for information, but I’m really more concerned with the content, because that’s where people are getting to via search.

I’m not sure that there really is a de-portalization going on, I don’t think that the Internet was ever truly portalized.

(Speaking as an English person I find the need to create new words for things a bit of a mystery, especially when they end “ize”.)

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Concept of the Day: Visual Illiteracy

Crozon ChurchIn a post about the use of PowerPoint during the Iraq War, Visual Beings used this term “Visual Illiteracy”.

Some days a phrase gets me thinking – Visual Illiteracy is a new one.

Visual Illiteracy is of course the opposite of Visual Literacy of which there seems to be a lot written.

There’s even an International Visual Literacy Association.

Take your pick of definitions, they all seem to be saying very similar things: the ability to communicate and understand visually rather than in words.

I suppose this fits into my brain series. The right-brained people seem to be the ones who are more likely to be visually literate. Visual literacy is going to be a skill which will be invaluable to people who are needing to be more creative and more conceptual. It seems to be something you can learn.

Having done a small amount of research I am staggered by how many words have been written about a topic that is all about visual. Apparently there is a taxonomy of visual literacy?

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