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Attention Management Disorder
Attention Economics is a new subject that I invented to explain some of the dynamics of my Society of Mind. Except that Wikipedia says that Attention Economics is already a thing, though not exactly the thing that I mean it to. So I can't have invented it. And by the way, Urban Dictionary says that "its a thing" is a thing. That will interest you lovers of the self-referential.
But enough about Attention Economics. For reasons that may become clear by the end of this post I got distracted, and almost the whole rest of it is about Attention Managment Disorder, another new thing that I invented it. And Google says it's new. So I claim it on behalf of this blog.
Now let's start with Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD.
I've been labeled as having ADD simply of evidence. It seems that there's a good match between its symptoms and my behavior.
According to the ever-authoritative Wikipedia People with ADD may:
Be unable to read the entire list without being distracted.
Fail to even start to read the list unless the first two items are highlighted in some way that tricks them into reading them.
Note: People without ADD also fail to start the list and skip to the bottom without trickery, so this test is not definitive.
And it's not even what's on Wikipedia. I just made that up. Because ADD. Anyhow, here's the real list.
People with ADD may:
Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another; CHECK.
Have difficulty maintaining focus on one task; CHECK. Except when I hyperfocus
Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless doing something enjoyable. CHECK.
Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task; CHECK, unless it's really interesting. or there's schedule pressure; in which case, hyperfocus. difficulty learning something new; Are you kidding.I thrive on the new.
Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities; CHECK
Not seem to listen when spoken to; I take the fifth.Talk to my wife about this.
Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly; CHECK for daydream. Not so much for the rest;
Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others; Nope. I'm quick. Unless, of course, the dude is talking too slowly; or he's giving two examples where one will do; or one example when he concept is so fucking simple I got it the first time. If you give me two facts, and then explain three that are logical consequences of the first two, I'm dead bored. Since its obvious that C and D follow from A and B, and that C can interact with R and make V, and D will react with V and explode all over the fucking place, flattening buildings,
Struggle to follow instructions; CHECK
So on balance, I qualify.
If what I've got is called ADD, it's misnamed. I don't have an attention deficit. I've got enough attention for somewhere between two and ten ordinary people. My problem is another of my inventions: Attention Management Disorder (AMD). According to Google, Attention Management Disorder is not yet a thing. So I invented it.
I've got so much surplus attention that I can carry out most simple tasks, fairly effectively. using a small fraction all of my available attention. Writing this post is about as demanding as it gets, and it takes a fair amount of attention--but not all of it. Once I know how a sentence ends, I need very little attention to get my fingers to type the rest of the words. With attention to spare I'm watching the New England Patriots kicking the butts of the Miami Dolphins on TV between thoughts as I type words.
Most things don't require as much attention as writing this does, which means that I've generally got a huge amount of left-over attention. If I don't attach myself to a controlled attention sink like the TV, I devote just enough attention to the task to keep it moving, and I let my attention wander, like a friendly puppy, looking for other things to attend to.
Therein lies the problem.
Sometime my attention is content with what it finds. But too often it finds something that it thinks is really interesting. "Ooooh!!!! Looook!!
If even a little of the attention invested in the main task looks see what's so cool, then I'm in trouble.
It doesn't take much. Remember that the original allocation of attention to that task was "just enough to keep it going." Anything less is not enough. So once I find something to attend to, work on the original task stops. Or it continues in such a shoddy way that even I can't defend my performance.
Of course I don't notice any of this because I never assigned any attention to monitoring what my attention is attending to.
Like I say: I don't have an attention deficit problem. I have an attention management problem.
But, maybe not.