I am checking email. I am holding my breath. My heart rate goes up. My brain begins to whirl as I try to file the enormous amounts of email I have in my inbox: Who should I respond to now? Who can wait? Which should I delete? Another viagra email? Who should I call? How did I miss THIS email? Aargh.
I was talking with a client about this. Turns out she is the same way. Turns out there is a name for it.
Yes, you read it correctly.
So I googled it. And sure enough, it exists.
Email Apnea has been defined as “a temporary absence or suspension of breathing, or shallow breathing, while doing email.”
It seems there is this woman, Linda Stone, who has been researching this. She says that email apnea can lead to all sorts of health-related issues, such as obesity and diabetes. Huh? She coined the phrase “continuous partial attention.” Linda says, “We pay continuous partial attention in an effort NOT TO MISS ANYTHING. It is an always-on, anywhere, anytime, any place behavior that involves an artificial sense of constant crisis. We are always in high alert when we pay continuous partial attention. This artificial sense of constant crisis is more typical of continuous partial attention than it is of multi-tasking.”
So this same client who I was talking with is constantly looking for the best house out there. She is twittering, craigslisting, googling, zillowing…all in an effort to find the best deal out there. The process has been grueling for her. She is so afraid of missing the opportunity that she has tuned into the search 24hour/day. She found a house and wanted to put in an offer, then backed out for fear of finding a better one. She filed this house under the “check back” folder. Huh?
You get my point.
Sounds like we all need a little breather.