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RII & "What would Descartes subscribe to?"

Rands In Repose: Repetitive Information Injury

The other day someone asked if all my hot-roddding, organization, and Mac fu have truly made me any more "productive," and I said what I usually say: "Yeah, on most days, absolutely. But sometimes I'm just procrastinating with lightning efficiency."

A couple years back, Rands in Repose came up with the term Nerd Attention Deficiency Disorder (or "NADD"), and recently he took the concept a bit further with "Repetitive Information Injury."

Know the signs. As described above, RII is when you're stuck in a consumption loop. Your brain is thinking it's more important to continue to find something to soak in rather than moving on to your next project. It's tricking you into continuing with thoughts like, "Hey, it just takes a second to press that Get Email button... or that Refresh Feeds button.... go for it man! You never know when you'll hit the information gold-mine!" Problem is, those seconds turn into minutes... and you're suddenly staring at the same pages, listening to the same JUST DO IT advice, and suddenly 30 minutes have passed and you haven't actually done anything...

The tools at our disposal give us an unprecedented ability to create unmanageable and distracted lives for ourselves; it's like we've attacked the "needle in a haystack" problem by focusing on the supply chain for delivering new hay every quarter-hour. Not to say I'm not frequently doing this myself, but it is interesting to consider how most of us are using the previously-unthinkable ability to find and consume any piece of extant information we could ever want all the time, any time.

I'll bet Descartes, Mozart, and Aristotle would each have been a lot less productive if they were receiving constant SMS updates on Tara Reid's boobs. Just something to think about.

[ RII link via Mike Brodhead. ]

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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