We live in an astonishing era of technological advancement that should be making us better and they are indeed making our lives better in some aspects but they may also be making our brains worse. Hear me out!
Do you check your phone first thing in the morning? Do you check it every hour? Half hour? More? Do you watch TV and have your phone out checking emails, Instagram, or Facebook? Do you use your cell phone to check social media during work? (Don’t worry. I won’t tell your boss.)
If you answered “yes” to these questions, you most likely are being HACKED by your own technology!
Our brains have a primitive system that’s sole focus is to look for the “shiny” thing. Originally it was used to identify the color of a new animal that could be a predator, a one type of red berry that was poisonous, or a rustle in the bushes that could mean danger. It is a system of protection that the brain is always using to be constantly aware of its surroundings in order to protect itself.
Today that “shiny thing” is no longer a predator, it’s notifications, emails, and texts.
Is that such a bad thing? YES!
There is a saying in brain science that says, “the brain wires the way it fires.” It means that the more the brain does a specific activity, the more it lays down wiring to engrain that process into deeper the brain, making it easier to perform that task next time. This is why the more your practice an instrument, the better you get.
The problem with constantly checking for the “shiny” things, when there is no threat or danger, is that we are literally wiring our brains for DISTRACTION! We’re making it easier for our brains to become disconnected and distracted.
Have you ever ran out of battery or lost service and felt “notification anxiety” start to creep in?
“What if someone liked my photo? What if I got a message? What if someone commented?” (If your as popular as I am, it was probably nothing.)
One study found that every single time you get distracted, it takes on average 25 minutes to get refocused! They also found that distractions eat close to 2.5 hours of work productivity every single day. That’s 17.5 hours a week and 70 hours a month!!! [R] Think of what you could do with an extra 70 hours every single month.
So What Can We Do?
1. First thing in the morning, don’t immediately pick up your phone. Leave it on “airplane mode.” — The morning is a golden time where your brain is a blank canvas and ready for the right type of input, when you immediately check your phone, guesswhat you do to your brain? Start the day with distraction, shiny things, and other nonsense thToday that “shiny thing” is no longer a predator, it’s notifications, emails, and texts.at typically comes through the news and social media.
2. Limit your social media times to certain slots of the day —How does an extra 70 hours a week sound? This will increase your productivity dramatically and allow you to get more work done in much less time.
3. Try talking to other humans. (It can be quite fun!) —Many times I see people on their phone while talking to someone else. The truth is their is no such thing as multitasking. Your brain can’t focus on your newsfeed and focus on what your friend is trying to say to you at the same time. Unplug from the tech, listen, and communicate. You may just like it!
4. Turn off notifications on your phone —Notifications are the epitome of the “shiny object.” The pop up on your phone, light up your screen, and make a noise making it virtually impossible to NOT get distracted.
5. DON’T take your cell phone out on dates or time with your spouse.Make it rule with each other. I hate seeing couples go on date nights and never actually speak or communicate with each other. This is a time to connect to each other, not your feeds.
6. Leave your phone in your car if you need to —In severe cases, full detachment may be your safest option. If you’re struggling with having your tech at your office, date, or even a workout, just leave your phone in the car and make it a non-issue. My wife and I make this our rule for our our “date nights.”
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