Are you a “faddict”? Do you feel as though there’s never enough time in the day to get through your to-do list, or find it difficult to switch off?
If so, it’s likely that you are indeed a faddict – someone who’s addicted to fast living and has allowed busyness to rule their life.
Where distractions abound in an age of endless meetings, smartphone beeps, and hours spent each day checking social media and e-mails, many of us consider ourselves to lead busy lives – but to what extent are we truly being productive with our time?
Catherine Blyth’s latest book, On Time, has been written for anyone who feels he or she is constantly on the go but never seems to get anything done. Blyth is a recovering faddict herself, and the book is her attempt to help people who feel overwhelmed by what she calls “hurry slavery” to break free from the noise and clutter that continually puts the brakes on making real progress.
Much of the problem, says Blyth, is that our evolution has failed to catch up to our modern-day environment. We spend so much time checking our e-mails and phones for updates because it feels good to receive various stimuli which gives us a lovely hit of dopamine each time. Of course, as our brain adapts, we need to up the dosage, and this behaviour makes a heavy dent in our ability to focus.
Fascinating research and examples of faddict behaviour permeates the pages of this book, which is a much-needed work for a vast number of people. Like a portable and friendly intervention, On Time leads readers to nod along like a Pavlovian dog as they recognise the signs of their own hectic living.
One particularly interesting study cited by Blyth looked at how people move around cities. The researchers found that, the bigger the city, the faster everything becomes. When people feel rushed, they literally speed up as they walk along the streets in a subconscious effort to keep pace with the sense of busyness that surrounds them.
However, as Blyth notes, you can’t outpace life – instead, it’s much more beneficial to find and set your own pace within this manic world of ours. She suggests that we find pockets of time in each day to do nothing much in order to give our brains a rest. Several studies have backed up this sage advice, suggesting that when we slow down, we become more creative and more productive. In other words, we get more done when we’re not constantly rushing around.
In France, workers have the “right to disconnect” and avoid work e-mails outside working hours. This goes some way to help alleviate the culture of busyness that has been (for too long) viewed as the epitome of conscientious hard work, even though being busy is by no means an indication of how much work is being done. For faddicts, time is never enough and it’s always fleeting.
On the contrary, Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci observed that time stays long enough for those who use it. Thankfully, Blyth goes to the trouble of providing a step-by-step guide on how we can overcome the bad habits we’ve cultivated when it comes to our time management.
As a recovering faddict herself, she seems well aware that busy behaviours are so ingrained that most of us literally need guidance on how to change pace.
On Time is a book that busy people will, ironically, feel they have no time for and yet, it’s a book that they desperately need to read. It is all at once sympathetic to the plight of busy people, engaging, droll, and deeply informative, reflecting the famous Zen saying that, “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day – unless you’re too busy.Then you should sit for an hour.”
On Time: Finding Your Pace In A World Addicted To Fast
Author: Catherine Blyth
Publisher: William Collins, nonfiction