Battling Sensory Overload on a Bus

I indulged in a nasty habit of mine yesterday. Deviating from my hard-nosed worklife business beat, I turned on something other than a screen with ticker tape running across the bottom of it. Yes, I dipped below the cable stations into the few single-digit network stations available, and came upon The View.

Despite my short attention span, I ended up glued to the screen because of Whoopi Goldberg. She was talking about our 24/7 world and how her small contribution to rebelling against this sensory overload is taking a bus- as opposed to flying – even cross country. A ride that takes a good 43 hours coast to coast.

Goldberg commented that she hated to fly, in any event. But it was amazing how quickly the panel burst out into…"how could you take all that time on a bus….aren’t you bored….I could never take my child on a bus…." on and on and on.

Goldberg said it was a great way to relax, get some peace and just hang out – by herself. "Hey, I like to hang out by myself. I like myself," she exclaimed! We are so conditioned to believe that quicker is better. The faster the better, the bigger the better, the more seen we are the more influence we have. Not true. There’s something to be said about the "pace of grace."

What do I mean by that? It’s working with awareness of the goal in sight, at a steady pace, but without burning out and fearing failure due to deadlines. It’s not an easy thing to achieve or a likely place to find yourself especially working for someone else. But to the extent we can control our emotions and responses in the time prior to the deadline, we can achieve somewhat of a "pace of grace."

When we are anxious and over reactive, it’s hard to be as productive. As we’ve witnessed in recent studies for example, (ie. University of Michigan Med School)  multitasking is not exactly efficient. The assumption that we’ll miss the boat if we don’t produce enough – or fast enough – has been ingrained into our workplaces. But we’re beginning to see a trend in the understanding that multitasking and burning-out are bunkmates. As corporate America wakes up to this idea, offering worklife balance initiatives, perhaps the "pace of grace" is not so far- fetched.

For those of you interested in a hilarious cartoon on multitasking with regard to the way the government handled the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – head to The Atlantic Monthly online. You will get a kick out of it.

And for some inspiring quick pick-me-ups on avoiding burnout, listen to my WorkLife Minutes at