Ah, but the lovely ‘someone likes me’ feeling we get when the phone pings with notifications and that red dot on our social media apps and email informs us that we have things to attend. Important things. At least more important than the things we are working on.
I know. Notifications are FUN! They can make us feel connected with our friends and the world.
As great as that is, those notifications also steal our day away. They distract us, they grab us and lure us down the rabbit hole of being busy but not productive. Ever gone on Facebook to check that notification only to look up thirty minutes later realizing you are still on FB?
All those minutes here and there adds up to a lot of time. They seem innocent but it’s just like that daily $5 dollar latte that adds up to over 1,800 dollars in a year.
Blame It On the Brain
The brain is a funny thing. It loves novelty and anything new and shiny. It really doesn’t like to focus on the same thing for too long. It loves distractions!
Which makes notifications the perfect distraction for the brain to get addicted to.
A study done in 2012 compared brain scans of people addicted to the internet to people addicted to drugs and guess what?
If you’re addicted to the internet your brain can start to operate in a similar fashion as if you were addicted to drugs. The brain has become addicted to quick burst of dopamine, a brain neurotransmitter involved in creating a sense of pleasure and reward.
Sadly, for the most part the “reward” wasn’t as exciting as you anticipated so the brain goes off in search for more dopamine. In other words you’re in the dopamine loop of seeking happiness in the world of the wild web.
The dopamine loop can get you hooked. That’s why drug addicts continue in hope of that the next hit of whatever they are taking will make them feel happy and fulfilled.
How To Get Your Day Back
First, most people can’t go cold turkey with their phones. You know if you are one of them. Take a look at your hand. Is there a phone in there at all times? Then you are most likely so attached to your phone that you would go into panic mode if I took it away for an hour.
Second, realize that you are dealing with something that won’t take overnight to change. The draw from your phone or computer will still be strong for quite some time.
Third, slow change leads to greater success. At least that’s my experience. Start with removing the banner and red dot notifications. Then be brave and start leaving your phone at home while you go for a 30 minute walk or while you’re eating dinner with the family. Then get the phone out of your bedroom. About 80% of people grab their phone first thing in the morning. Many before they even say good morning to their partner. Talk about having some messed up priorities!
Fourth, once you realize that life does go on without constantly checking your phone or computer you increase those times until you can take an entire day off from being connected. Now you know you’re ready for some digital time free days.
Fifth, enjoy the clarity and focus that you get when you are not constantly bogged down by emails, notifications and more. Not to mention all the extra time you now have getting the work done and moving your life forward!
Sixth, simply do not have any social media or email tabs open while you are working on the computer. Start single-tasking. Remove the email popup at work. Those should be banned. They distract you because even if you think you can ignore them your brain can’t. It now wants to know what’s in that email.
I know, becoming de-attached to your phone can be hard but we survived just fine before smartphones arrived. Be the master of your smartphone and your computer instead of you being a slave to it.
Now, go out there, and move forward. It’s time to stop spinning and start living.
If you felt this post was of value to you please share with others so they too can learn how to stop spinning and start living. I appreciate you! Now go and move your life forward. You can do it!
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