Edward (Ned) Hallowell, M.D., a child and adult psychiatrist, is a NY Times bestselling author, world-renowned speaker and leading authority in the field of ADHD. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Tulane Medical School, and the founder of The Hallowell Centers in Sudbury, Massachusetts and New York City. He was a member of the Harvard Medical School faculty from 1983 until he retired from academics in 2004 to devote his full professional attention to his clinical practice, lectures, and the writing of books. He has authored eighteen books on various psychological topics, including CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap! Strategies for Coping in a World Gone ADD (2006).
What can the CrazyBusy app provide that is different from the other ADHD or wellness apps on the market?
The CrazyBusy app encourages users to break the busy habit and focus on what matters most. It is one thing to reduce life's clutter, feel prepared and take control of your schedule - but doing these things without prioritizing what matters most will not result in a more rewarding life. The CrazyBusy app features a series of questions aimed at assisting the user in reducing low return on time activities and increasing high return on time activities. Customized feedback and suggestions help the user create and maintain new habits in order to start being happier and still get things done!
How does the CrazyBusy app fit with CrazyBusy book? What can each give the reader?
The CrazyBusy app is an extension of the CrazyBusy book. The book is a tremendous resource and offers my insights into culturally induced ADHD. The app expands the availability of the CrazyBusy ideas so app users can easily have the resources with them at all times and can incorporate tips and suggestions into daily routines. Focus exercises, the stopwatch/timer, the gratitude tracker, and weekly tips and announcements are unique to the app. I take advantage of the iPhone technology to bring my book to life.
How important is balance to a healthy life?
When you’re “crazybusy” your life is out of balance and you enter what I call the “F-state” – frenzied, fearful, forgetful and frantic. In “F-state” your creativity, humanity and mental well-being suffer. So it’s extremely important to your health and relationships to find your rhythm in order to live a productive, joyful and balance life.
What are some results of practicing good time management?
When you practice good time management, you begin to take back control. By choosing and prioritizing what you do, you can lead a sane life and become the person you really want to be. When you train yourself to stay on task, you will enjoy — while they last — the childhoods of your kids, the ripening of your marriage, and these best years of your life. You will give yourself permission to make the most of the short time you have on this planet. So it’s important to remember that practicing good time management is like handling money. If you don’t watch how you spend it, you waste it.
Your app has a tool for helping people determine if the energy they are putting into a task is worth the result. You then provide recommendations for improving time management and quality of life in those areas. What would you suggest to people who don't know where to start in making changes?
Start by taking stock of what matters most to you, and then set up a system that incorporates your habits, routines and rituals. It’s important to develop tactics for getting organized, but not in the sense of empty New Year’s resolutions. Rather, your goal is to manage your time in a way that suits you, so that disorganization does not keep you from reaching your goals. So whatever system you set up, has to mesh with your personality, your idiosyncrasies, your hopes and fears. Ultimately, how you decide to use your time is a reflection of who you are and what you feel matters most.
In the app, you mention the concept of gemmelsmerch. Could you explain to readers the concept of gemmelsmerch and how it applies to our busy lives?
Gemmelsmerch is the force that distracts a person from what he or she wants to or ought to be doing and is as pervasive and powerful as gravity. If you don’t deliberately protect time to do what matters most, it is likely you will not do it, or at best not give it the time it deserves.
It is important that your book emphasizes moderation in technology use instead of severely restricting it or eliminating it all together. Why is moderation better than going cold turkey with technology?
The need to keep track of things today is exponentially greater than it’s ever been in human history, because the human brain has never been able to process as many data points as we’re asked to process today. So it would be difficult to eliminate technology all together by going cold turkey. But if you’re not careful, all of these electronic inputs can be positively dizzying. I use technology all of the time. In fact, my life depends on it. But, you need to be aware of how much time you’re spending and the dangers of what I call “screen-sucking.” “Screen-sucking” is like smoking cigarettes: once you’re hooked, it is extremely tough to quit and can seriously limit your productivity and mental growth. However, by using technology in moderation, you can take control of modern life instead of letting it taking control of you.
Are there instances where a total disconnect from technology is recommended?
In extreme cases of screen addition, I would recommend a total disconnect from technology along with getting professional help.
Can your app give people an idea whether they may have an addiction to technology?
Yes, app users will identify areas of their life that are out of balance (technology may be one area) and determine the effort the activity requires, the fulfillment they receive from the activity and the necessity of performing the activity. Once the user enters his/her scores, the app provides "worth it" scores with detailed and actionable feedback. Users can get a sense of the value for effort/time spent on technology in relation to other activities and make their own determination about a potential technology addiction.
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