Monday, 19 March 2018

The Information Age and the Stress Epidemic

Over time we have become increasingly exposed to more and more sources of information dissemination and at 1000/second we have access to billions of pages of resources. We are forced to deal with a barrage of often times unnecessary information for our minds to process.  It is no wonder there are more and more retreats popping up where cell phones and other computerised devices are banned.

We asked Seye Kuyinu a Web /Software Developer, writer and mindfulness advocate if we could share some of his tips for coping under the barrage of information.

What works for me(and should work for you)?

1. The Zero email policy. This is the zen of my computer life! First, I check my emails at intervals that are set in my calendar. I make sure my inbox count is 0 at the end of each interval. The 4 D’s for achieving inbox zero are:

Delete when you’ve read it and doesn’t need any action

Delegate if it would take you more than two minutes to attend to and there’s someone you can delegate to.

Do-it if it would take less than 2 minutes.

Defer if it would take you some time. At this point you create a calendar event for it. But make sure to delete mails after reading or archive already D-ed emails. There are countless resources online about the zero email policy

2. Say NO! I don’t take on unnecessary projects any more. Right now I don’t care how much! For
me, it’s peace over the extra bucks. If the project can’t wait, then it can go. My first response to any request now is NO. Even for the little requests like ‘Yo, Seye, please can you check out this little bug?’. My first answer is No. If it’s really important (and importance should be measured according to how it effects the project at hand and of course, the bottom-line) it should be scheduled. Enter: my calendar. I’m plugged into my calendar like never before. “Focusing is about saying No.” ― Steve Job!

3. Take the McGee Take Back Your Life course if your organization can afford it. If not, you can buy the book. This has saved my life in many ways.

4. Outsource it baby! If I could take back the hours I have spent burying my head in design or code that could have been outsourced, I’d probably be 4 times richer (maybe I would have bought my first Tesla by now). Years ago, I was guilty of putting so much strain on myself and not assigning the right amount of  resources to projects. The project would end up being below the agreed standard and at the same time behind schedule, which generally meant we had over-shut our budget. In some situations we had to give a rebate for the delays. In hindsight, I realize we could have outsourced or hired more hands and finished the project faster giving room for other projects, leading to a win- win scenario.

More information on how to cope with stress and access to trained online therapists can be found at Better Help:

5. Focus. *sigh*. I guess this sums everything up. I pride myself of being multi… skilled. A designer, a developer. I play a number of musical instruments including the violin, which I still strive to perfect. I initially made a commitment to learn the cello. Last year, I started learning to speak German and then got drawn to Portuguese. I am in the process of learning the art of acrylic painting. But what’s the point of knowing everything but not mastering everything. One of my partners, Chris, once said and I paraphrase, ‘it is better to dig deeper in an area than to spread’. I have decided to focus on my strengths and deeper passions. (Front-end engineering is pretty interesting these days).

6. Mindful living. “When you connect to the silence within you, that is when you can make sense of the disturbance going on around you.” At this moment, I am enjoying the silence and watching the disturbance breeze past without shuffling me. In her book, The Truth About Forever, Sarah Dessen also said the same thing but in another way, “I didn’t pay attention to times or distance, instead focusing on how it felt just to be in motion, knowing it wasn’t about the finish line but how I got there that mattered”. Living mindfully is, in summary, the art of living in the moment instead of getting lost in the day-to-day motions and actions.

So far, I am surviving against the odds. I am sure this would work for you too!

This article was first publishes as part of a similar article by the author on medium  and is republished with permission.


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