In the final hours of your life, you will not be reading the news or scrolling your Twitter feed. In the final hours of your life, when you remember the time you had and the effects you had, you will not wish to spend more time on your phone.
Time is truly the entrepreneur’s only finite resource and is wasted, stolen and requested by others every day. But when you are wasting and underestimating your own valuable time, there is a bigger problem.
Neuroscientists discover more about the brain every year. New measuring devices are used in new experiments and breakthroughs are made that combine with old research results. Neuroscience has a lot to do with the effects someone can make, because the state of their brain is responsible for what they do. In particular, how creative they can be. How much deep work they can do. How much they can access the slower and dreamlike brainwaves normally reserved for babies and sleeping adults that are conducive to creativity, intuition and groundbreaking ideas.
Unlike other addictions, the solution to digital addiction is not to rule it out completely. All factors taken into account; Technology has clearly improved people’s lives. Faster and cheaper access to products and services, better connection with others, more opportunities for targeted work. There is little point in going back in time at random. Instead, the solution is to strike a balance that means that you are in command of your technology, not the other way around.
The three experiments proposed will allow you to find peace and quiet in a busy world. You manage the digital distraction. They make devices a less important part of your life. They bring with them the realization that there are very few emergencies and almost anything can wait. Here are three experiments to sustainably overcome technology addiction.
1. No email before 11am
The rule is simple. No registration with e-mail programs before 11 a.m. or at least two hours after the start of work. That means other people’s priorities, which are mostly inboxes, can wait until you’ve done something important. Of deep work that only you can do. A period of time between ninety minutes and two hours in which you know you cannot be disturbed or asked for a quick answer.
If you concentrate on your most important work first, your day will be exceptionally well prepared and lead to a sense of achievement that will increase resilience and self-confidence during the remaining hours. When the clock strikes 11 a.m., you can bundle your email responses by firing them at lightning speed instead of in smaller chunks that keep you focused.
If you want to email or check something in your inbox before 11:00 a.m., write it down. Integrate this list into your batch processing; Do your review and submit the five suggestions you wrote at once. It’s difficult at first as you instinctively check your email. If you fight back, you will see how strong the urge can be and how distracted your brain has become. When practice becomes a habit, emailing you won’t remember to check first. Your priorities will be arranged in the correct order and your colleagues will be trained so that you don’t have to react immediately.
2. Social media limited to once a week
My most intense days of social media activity are the days of book publishing. You are crazy. The book will be published in social media posts, stories and videos. My followers respond in support and send me pictures of their orders or keep their pre-releases. I’m booked for podcasts and Instagram lives and respond to comments all day. I check Amazon rankings, notifications on every platform and get caught in a whirlpool of dopamine that lasts all day.
Watching how I feel during book releases is eye opening. It’s like consuming copious amounts of caffeine, all wired up. Easily irritable, with a short attention span. Stuck in the lizard brain and obsessively looking for updates every few minutes. For this day I lose perspective. I take myself too seriously, I internalize feedback. I’m being led by the crowds and my device, and my brain is in full swing. The next day I wake up exhausted and need a digital detox to restore my balance.
While this sounds extreme, most people’s use of technology isn’t that different. Scrolling social media, checking the news, looking for things to be upset or excited about. Each user is a slave to their own PEZ dopamine dispenser, there are just different forms.
The experiment is to limit social media usage to one day per week. Pick any day. Go to town that day. Check everything, scroll everything. Post and comment to your heart’s content. Read YouTube comments, scroll Twitter, check out Reels on your Instagram Explore tab. See what everyone is up to on LinkedIn and check your Facebook messages. Succumb to clickbait and see where you land.
On all other days you log out. Sign out and clear your browsing history so the URL doesn’t even show up. Enable two-factor authentication so that even then you will be reminded of making a mistake. When you feel like you want to review something, write it down. Whenever you feel the urge to post, share your views, or view someone else’s profile, write it down. Make yourself a big list for your next social media day, and then do whatever. If you re-enter each account you will find everything was fine to wait.
3. No phone use before lunch
Assuming that the morning is a glorious time before the day wears you down, it makes sense to cut out more digital distractions and postpone them until later. The third experiment is not to use the phone until lunch or at least two hours after starting work. That means no chat apps, no SMS, but airplane mode will stay until you have made progress towards your ultimate goal. Reserve your morning.
There are tricks to make this feasible first. Setting your phone to black and white makes it less shiny and attractive. When you use a clock, you don’t have to reach for the time. When you buy a separate alarm clock, unlocking your phone isn’t the first thing you do every morning. Carrying a payment card means it won’t be used for Apple Pay.
They survived before the smartphones, and now you can survive if they are here. But when you’ve been sworn off your phone all morning, you realize the addiction that was subconsciously created. Separate dependencies to regain control. I don’t need an app to meditate, I just like Calm playing music and tracking my progress. I don’t need the Wim Hof app to follow this Wim Hof methodbut I feel like I have a trainer. Think about what you really need an app for and what could just as easily be implemented in the old-fashioned way.
By the time the phone check time arrives each day, your brain will get you to pick it up. It will tell you that you got to do certain things. It will try every hack imaginable to get you picking up your phone, doing that one thing, and then walking into a rabbit hole of use. This is how addiction works. For all, who must do Things, make a list. Use pen and paper to write down your to-dos. Send this friend this link, track your weight, reschedule delivery, book this table. You can all wait until you get down to the basics or make progress.
The basis for these experiments is cleaning your phone. Delete non-essential apps, including news and social media, and set downtime for any remaining ones. Train your awareness and change your actions, including warding off the urge to pull your phone out of your pocket at every opportunity;
The experiments may sound radical, but they are necessary. Email, social media, messaging, and excessive phone usage are all costing your potential. They are costing you the life you could lead if you could only find the time. See what you can cut out and watch how you feel as you set clear boundaries that you don’t overstep for any reason. Overcome tech addiction once and for all.