Schools are often hyperkinetic environments. Teachers are busy in the classroom, supervising hallways and lunchrooms, and busy supporting students’ extra curricular activities. When extra curricular activities coincide with exam and report card times, teachers’ lives can be crazy. It seems to me during those extra frenetic times when I was super busy in and out of the classroom, I got to the point where I feel a constant low level of panic and guilt. While at work I felt as if I wasn’t spending enough time with family; while at home I felt I wasn’t spending enough time with work. I’m certain I’m not the only teacher to feel this way. I could hardly wait for the extra crazy times at school to be over. I’d swear the extra crazy times at school affected my brain so I couldn’t function normally. Well, it appears I was correct thinking my brain wasn’t functioning well during those hyperkinetic times during the school year.
Edward M. Hallowell, a psychiatrist, says there’s a newly recognized neurological phenomenon called Attention Deficit Trait that explains the brain’s response to the craziness of a hyerkinetic workplace. When people are trying to deal with more input than they possibly can, they have difficulty setting proprieties, staying organized, and managing time and feel low levels of panic guilt. Gee, I thought I was just overwhelmed and couldn’t cope.
Hallowell suggests we can help control ADTs by getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and getting adequate exercise. He maintains we need to have a “human moment”- a face-to-face exchange with someone you like every few hours. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found it’s not always possible to find the time for that “human moment” at work. I guess I should make the time. Taking the time for a pleasant face-to-face exchange with someone at work when the environment gets more and more crazed would fall into the category of working smarter, not harder. Of course doing things such as breaking large tasks down into smaller, more manageable tasks and keeping your desk organized and free from clutter (my greatest challenge) will help control ADT.
I’ve found after I’ve been in hyperkinetic environment for a while, I begin to long for silence and solitude and head. My favourite place to find silence and solitude is along the banks of the Credit River. A walk along the Credit River is so restorative and helps put things into perspective. What do you do when you want to stop the world and get off for an hour or so?