“…Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream…Lay down all thought…Surrender to the void…That you may see…The meaning of within…” The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows”.
I remember being at dinner at SMX Advanced with a bunch of people and one of the guys (who I consider a friend and don’t wish to pick on him…but then I wouldn’t have a way to start my story) was fidgeting with his hands in an odd way reminiscent of a smoker missing his pack of cigs. I asked him what he was doing and he told me that his restlessness was due to the fact that he didn’t have his iPhone with him. It was clear that he missed the ability to engage with it at a moments notice, even though we all were in an obvious social group situation.
In our industry, this ADD-like behavior is more the norm than the exception. Those that have chosen the SEO career path without an ADD personality are almost compelled to develop ADD traits in order to maximize career success.
After all, without ADD, how can somebody work multiple open browsers / browser pages, multiple IM conversations, multiple software products, email, and Twitter simultaneously? In fact, a daily search marketing routine involves tremendous number of quick micro-focused bursts of concentration on items and issues, with the SEO needing to be able to immediately perceive the relevancy contained within each and being able to take the correct course(s) of action.
Many SEO brains are predisposed to crave this type of continual overstimulation to the point where it’s difficult to mentally detach from the normal work environment so that even a brief slow moment in life requires distraction and peripheral interaction. Folks, this ain’t good…but why I believe it ain’t good might surprise you.
When our ADD-addled brains are running full-throttle during our workday, we are seeing, processing, and acting upon lots of data yet we seldom have the opportunity to reflect upon all this information until we disengage from the work environment. If we continue this pattern of brain overstimulation away from work (e.g. iPhones, video games, etc.), we might not ever have the necessary opportunity to contemplate the possibilities in what we have learned.
The ADD-afflicted among us know that ADD doesn’t go away after hours. However, I’ve found that during occasions where my focus is relatively undistracted (while working out, while driving, while being around really boring people), my mind begins to gradually disengage itself from the “present” situation in order to spend more of its processing power on working through the problems and challenges that I face online. Since my brain won’t slow down, when faced with the challenge of relatively “unengaging” external stimuli, it is forced to crunch through the large amount of information already contained therein, increasing the likelihood of generating actionable insights into SEO problems. I’ve found that almost all of my best work ideas have come while being away from the computer.
I’ve also found that music really helps me channel my thought processes towards finding solutions to what I’m trying to accomplish. Music acts upon my brain in the same manner as seasoning acts on food. The wonder of aural entertainment is that if I’m temporarily blocked in my thinking, the music gets pushed to the forefront of my mind and it automatically recedes to my background when I become unblocked.
For those predisposed to ADD, you might actually find that increasing your amount of inactivity might actually make you more productive at work :.)