So, what do you need to feel comfortable about what you're doing and, maybe more importantly, what you're not doing? Well, you need to have a map of all the possibilities. You know, I just spent four hours with the head of [a large government organization] last week, and all we did were two mind maps--one for his job and one for his personal life, just to do the 20,000-foot areas of focus and interest and accountabilities about all of that--and then spent time making sure he got all the projects he needed ... to make sure he wasn't letting anything fall through the cracks, and then did a triage on some of the projects he needed to get rid of and hand off to associates. He just needed to externalize that, be more objective about it. He's buried, as is everybody.
So in a way, it really does come down to that: stop using your psyche as a place to try to collect and organize what you care about. If you try to keep it in your head, then it becomes like quicksand in there. So the good news is that all of this is forcing us to learn that lesson. And then, in the great, glorious future, we'll have nothing on our minds and can develop our inner wisdom. Why not?
How will we handle "busyness" in the future? Better, because of technology? Worse, because of overload? Both?
I think the degree and depth of the "busy trap," where you're always distracted and trying to catch up, is going to increase, because more people will be affected by it.
Things on your mind need to be externalized--captured in some system that you trust. You capture things that are potentially meaningful; you clarify what those things mean to you; and you need maps of all that, so you can see it from a larger perspective. With better technology, I'd like a set of maps--maps of my maps. Then I could say, "Okay, which map do I want to work on right now? Do I want to work on my family map, because I've got family members coming over for dinner?" Then you can drill down into "Oh, my niece is coming. She likes this food, her favorite color is pink, her dog is named ..." Then you can back off and say, "That's enough of that map. What's the next map I want to see?" Or: "I'd just like to read some poetry right now."
These issues are very old. But we may find better tools to put the brain on steroids.