New Economy Depression Syndrome (and how to fight it)


The distractions are getting worse and more frequent.  Our perception that everyone is living a better life, has a better job, is happier and more satisfied than we are – those feeling are growing as well.

Tim Sanders calls this New Economy Depression Syndrome (NEDS for short), and cites information overload, heavy Web/mobile usage as well as increasing social isolation as the primary culprits.

It’s not difficult to describe these in real terms.  An increasing volume of alerts on our phones and computers distract us from real work.  Our social channels feature highlights from other people’s lives, giving us the perception that this is what their entire life is like.  We increasingly engage with more people via screens instead of in person.

The isolation, the perceived disparities, the distraction and impact on productivity all combine to create…depression.

Righting this of course takes a combination of mindset and habits.

Mindset – Know that what you see online isn’t the entire reality.  It’s a fraction of reality.  Enjoy and celebrate the highlights of your friends and family’s lives but know that they face the same type of challenges, roadblocks, pain and heartache you do (they just, as you, choose not to add this to their Facebook feed!).

Habits – Turn off those notifications and alerts.  Be mindful and intentional about what truly needs to be done, right now and today and this week (and beyond).  Allow yourself time for serendipity and engagement in diversion, but prioritize time on what really matters.

How you translate action items around mindset and habits will differ from what I choose to do of course, but I bet the definition and symptoms of NEDS hits home to a certain degree if you’re reading this.  Don’t let it get the best of you.