As the New Year kicks off to its full swing, there are much talks about making
meaningful resolutions and finding ways to actualize them without fail.
Though unique and different every year, one common theme that always seems
to be re-emerging around this time is how to increase productivity and become
Productivity is often considered as the number one factor linked to success.
Most successful people are naturally regarded as most productive and hence,
With the advancement in technology and science, it should only be easier and
simpler to achieve this goal but in reality, it seems even more unreachable
than ever before.
or Modern Life Syndrome
The reality of our modern life is incessantly
adding extra layers of stress and pressure to multi-task in a fast-paced
manner. This prolonged exposure to constant distractions can invariably
engender symptoms that are characteristic of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
According to Ed Hallowell, former professor at Harvard Medical School and author
to Distraction, there has been an upsurge in the number of people
complaining of feeling overwhelmed by daily life and not being able to effectively
focus on any one task at hand (Barker, 2014).
Hallowell further claims that this chronic sense of feeling rushed, overstretched
and disorganized may warrant the diagnosis of ADD but it could simply be the
very symbol of our modern life style. Barraged by unlimited sources of distractions
accessible ad nauseam, more people are now susceptible to suffering some form
of ADD or its derivatives thereof (ibid.).
Arguably, our modern way of living has generated some negative byproducts whose
effects are increasingly more concerning than not.
out that the biggest culprit of this new phenomenon is none other than email. Though
conveniently revolutionized the way we communicate and connect with each other,
email has also posed a host of new challenges to our sense of well-being.
been posited that the majority of people today are heavily relying on email to
the extent that it is drastically taking a toll on our physiological and emotional
In 2012 McKinsey Global Institute report, it was indicated that the average
people spend about 28 percent of their time at work going through their inboxes.
While 58 percent of smartphone users check their emails almost every hour, 54
percent have been found to be checking their phones before going to bed at night (Barker,
It has also been shown that checking email excessively can actually raise the level of stress and make us more
prone to reactivity, which in turn reduces productivity. When not reined in
properly, email can be just as addictive as alcohol or tobacco, potentially shrinking
our brain while dropping our IQ by 10 points (ibid.).
Recently, a new study conducted by
the University of California, Irvine in collaboration with United States Army
researchers, provided additional evidence to that effect. The study looked at
13 workers in a typical office setting and tested people’s stress levels by monitoring
their heart rates. The findings showed that the level of stress for people who
do not look at email on a regular basis at work was much lower with higher productivity
than those who do (Bilton, 2012).
is no doubt that technology has brought many new wonders and possibilities to
our world of humanity. When not gauged with proper limits, however, we could
unknowingly fall prey to its hidden perils and become enslaved to all of its
marvelous creations along the way.
make the most of our New Year’s resolutions, what is more pressing may be our
priorities that need to be re-aligned first and foremost in order to maximize the benefits of today’s technology.
or not, perhaps real success in the New Year is measured by how well we are
able to establish a better balance in our daily lives without being misguided
by unfounded pressures of our modern life.
Barker, E. July 4, 2014. 6 Things the Most Productive People Do Every Day. Retrieved
Bilton N. May 4, 2012. Taking
E-Mail Vacations Can Reduce Stress, Study Says. Retrieved from http://time.com/2951173/6-things-the-most-productive-people-do-every-day/?xid=time_socialflow_twitter