Sunday, 21 October 2012

Time's a Wasting!

When I was a kid, it seemed like the days just dragged on in that never ending cycle of “What shall we do now?”. Today, there just isn’t enough hours in the day...sleep may have to wait till I’ve retired or my son moves out! When did it change? Did I change or did society?

Before e-mail, it took weeks for my friends on other continents to get my letters and I made an effort to write lovely, eloquent essays and pick out the funniest birthday cards. Now, it’s a quick “happy bday” and “omg guess what” PMs on FB or Twitter. (There should be a dictionary explaining a lot of the short cuts we use nowadays because by the time I figure out which acronym to in, there are new ones ready to pounce and make my life that much harder!) Let’s not even mention the lack of punctuation. Did we just get lazy as the Internet took over the world or are we simply fighting to save time in our increasingly hectic lives?

“…The reality is that the pace of our modern society brings out the characteristics that mimic ADD. The question then becomes, are you suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder or from Modern Life Syndrome? Reflect on a few of the ADD symptoms:
  • Trouble focusing attention for more than a few seconds
  • Tuning out in the middle of a conversation
  • Likely to have many projects running simultaneously
  • Always in a rush and impatient
  • Feeling of being overwhelmed by daily life
  • Difficulty getting organized
  • Problems with time management
Do you know anyone who does not exhibit some or all of these traits? The truth is that society has evolved to bring those tendencies to the forefront for all of us. We are now suffering from Modern Life Syndrome as every part of our lives is barraged by messages demanding attention.”—Is It ADD or Modern Life Syndrome,

 So we’re all doomed?!? These bags under my eyes will just have to go on boosting concealer sales?!?

When I first started writing for young adults, I was constantly told that YA novels need to be fast paced…like give your readers whiplash (I don’t want to, honestly, but the gods of modern writing say so) fast. In other words, if at least one of your characters doesn’t have a life changing experience within the first few sentences of your novel, readers are going to file it away as another bad buy/What Was I Thinking. 

Really? Is that really how it works? And how did we become like this anyway? When I glance through books that I read as a kid, writers always had time to build up their stories, set the scene and draw readers into their world before killing a character off. Nowadays, a paragraph of describing a room or landscape is seen as literary suicide.

“Whether you are suffering from Modern Life Syndrome or ADD, you need to employ processes that will limit distractions and increase your productivity. The strategies are similar:
1.       Determine what your goals are, business and personal, and make sure some of your efforts each day are moving you in that direction.
2.       Prioritize your work before you leave the office each evening. You will be focused from the time you start working the next day.
3.       Plan a solid block of time with limited interruptions. Use that time for your most important, focused work.
4.       Track what causes the interruptions. Once you find the patterns, you can begin to eliminate some of these distractions.
5.       Do not let email control your day. Set up specific blocks of time when you will focus on email alone.
If you do not stop now to make changes, the result can be a major overload because of constant stress. Stress is responsible for many of our illnesses, from colds and flu to heart conditions. 80% of our medical expenditures are now stress-related. When you are not willing to step back and make adjustments, you may wind up with a situation over which you no longer have any control.”
(Source as above)

Oh, well, no solutions here—only ways to prioritize because fast paced everything is here to stay. So we just have to get with the program. Fine by me…I wouldn’t want to wake up in a world where shoulder pads are still making their rounds. Eeeww!!

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