“After a few days of these breathing exercises, [Linda Stone] noticed something interesting: just a few minutes after doing her breathing exercises, she’d head to work, check her email, and find herself holding her breath. Noting that there may be something wrong with that, she grabbed her gadgets and got to work finding out if she was the only one holding her breath in front of a monitor.
After about seven months, and about 200 interviews, Stone found that 80% of the people that she talked to and observed were holding their breath—especially when email came into their inbox.
So I decided to buy one of these devices and test myself during the writing of this book. I scheduled email checks only twice a day for one hour, and found that during those hours, sure enough, my breathing was more shallow and more irregular than during the hours in which I was writing.
Linda describes the problem with a term she coined: email apnea. But the irregularities go beyond email: I found that when I was dealing with all different sorts of incoming information online, my breath and heart rate became irregular. Any time I was dealing with something with a number by it or a queue, my breathing changed.”
–Clay Johnson, The Information Diet (O’Reilly Media, 2012), Kindle edition, 1693