Dear ambitious people,
Are you constantly searching to be more productive and effective? Then, you certainly believe in the mindset
Do less, achieve more.
To enjoy your life fully you focus on what matters and what creates value…
During this continuous quest, have a look at your relationship with electronics and tech. On my side, it’s regrettably unhealthy and unproductive… Still, on a long journey before finding the Holy Grail.
To my surprise, I spend daily 9-10 hours in front of a screen (laptop and mobile phone). If you remove my sleeping time (8h), eating and cleaning time (around 4 hours), I have daily only 2 hours left to use my brain or body unplugged. It’s just the time to walk from home to the co-working space or local restaurant.
TIME TO DISCONNECT?
Nowadays, I don’t see how someone can thrive without technologies. Do you know,
- any inspirational and successful Amish ?
- a non-tech start-up which has been sold recently for billions?
No? Neither do I. Today, as a digital marketing consultant, tech is my bread-and-butter. I can’t avoid it. In the current economy, very few positions allow success and disconnection. We are stuck. Aware of our problems, it is like trying to quit alcohol when you are wine taster in a world led by Martini.…
No way to disconnect then, but we can try to control and reduce our consumption…
OUR TIME IS PRECIOUS.
What is more precious than money? Your time.
See your time as an investment.
When you invest your time on Facebook, you expect a return on investment (ROI). An average user spends around 50 minutes per day on Facebook. After one week, it’s almost one full working day.
Check this concept: If we quit Facebook now, and we spend the same amount of time on our work, you can work 4 days instead of 5 every week until your retirement. So, it’s time to ask ourselves
What are the results of all my tech investments?
Do I have more true relationships? Do I have more clients or fame? Calculating your tech investment is more complex than it may seem. Why? Because we have no clue about the time spent on each medium.
- How many hours did you spend on Tinder, and how many successful dates did you get from it?
- How many hours did you spend on Medium, and how many interesting and useful articles did you read and remember?
- How many hours did you spend on league of Legends, and how many times Fnatic called you to join their team?
According to the Pareto rule, 20% of our actions deliver 80% of the results. Where are you 20 %?
Technology is an addiction. No mind-blower in this statement. We check our phone 150 times a day, and we still don’t know why. Unlike caffeine, smoke or heroin, searchers have not discovered any physical side effects of tech addiction.
While some of us tend to underestimate this new addiction, others fight it already. In Asia, detox centres open to help teens with video games addiction. In Silicon Valley, tech companies used to send their employees to spiritual boot camps where they will be totally offline. During their retreat, no screen is allowed. The purpose is to reconnect with each other, meditate and think about our values and which path we want to take.
If you realize that you are hooked on tech, the detox is hard. You’ll go against a whole world and a few will be supportive here. When I decided to quit drinking, all my Belgian friends blame and mock me. With tech, it’s worse. Expect your parents, bosses, friends, partners mocking you.
WHY ARE WE SO ADDICTED?
Tech companies have “profit” as a first objective. Don’t expect them to be our saviours. The more you spend time on their website or app, the more money they earn.
Welcome in the attention economy, companies are competing with each other for your attention and precious time. They try all the psychological tricks to mislead us and maximize our addictiveness. Here some examples,
1. The slot machine addiction
Casinos and Slot machines are a thriving industry. You just pull a lever and expect to receive a reward. The sensation of winning or losing according to an unpredictable variable gets us hooked to it. Tech uses this addictive trick. When we swipe down our fingers, we expect a reward (new notifications, pictures or messages). When you swipe right on Tinder, you have nothing or a reward (a match).
All my last attended events I discovered them through Facebook or Meetup. If I decide to leave those media or if I unsubscribe to their mailing list, I might miss future announcements… This feeling keeps me hooked…
3. Social Reciprocity
Tech even uses our social instincts to keep us addicted. You do me a favor (recommendation on LinkedIn, follow on Instagram, nice message on Messenger), it’s rude not to reply. If we keep receiving requests, we’ll stay on the platform.
If you feel that you are like me, a 21-century junky, you’ll find below a mix of personal pieces of advice and ideas from blogs. I implemented some of them but still with difficulties. Share your ideas in the comments, and I’ll add them to this post 😊 !
1. No electronics when you just wake up.
The first reflex of my girlfriend when she wakes up is to check her Instagram and Facebook. I’m proud I cut down this need. When you wake up, it’s the moment your brain is the freshest unless you need absolutely your coffee. You have another addiction then. Use this moment wisely. Every morning I write some ideas on a post-it.
2. Stop all smartphone notifications (except calls or important stuff).
If you let all your notifications active (updates, messages, emails, notifications), I can ensure your smartphone will become an unremitting vibrator on techno music. Hard to focus. To achieve your dreams, the focus is key. Protect this skill.
3. Settle a time frame when you disconnect.
With Amanda, we avoid mobile phones in bed. The screens blue light might disturb our sleep, and we tended to watch so many videos or articles before falling asleep. Now, I try to disconnect as well after 21h. It’s hard. Indeed, sometimes I just want to relax and watch a movie…
4. Reduce the number of web tools you need.
Tech is an investment. Focus where you get the maximum satisfaction and results. I tweeted for 3 years. After 81 followers and 3 retweets, I decided to kindly let this media for others. Same for Instagram, it was nice to watch beautiful girls on the beach, but now that I have a girlfriend, my need is reduced. The less platforms you use, the less waste of your time.
5. Accept the fomo.
The fear-of-missing-out keeps us hooked. It’s social anxiety led by our voyeurism or the desire to stay connected with what others are doing. If you don’t know your friend got married and you miss the wedding. Is it that bad? First, was it really a friend if you don’t even know this? Anyway, it means that you were not invited either.
We don’t miss what we don’t see.
5. Find your dopamine suppliers somewhere out of the web.
Dopamine is a hormone (neurotransmitter for the scientists) which creates pleasure and satisfaction. When you post a picture and hundreds like it, it’s an enjoyable pleasure, you feel proud and you release dopamine. The day you need a shot of dopamine, you’ll post a picture again.
Through dance, I succeeded to find an activity offline where I can create this dopamine. Girls look at your spins. They sometimes dance with you. You feel proud and happy.
Find your offline activity.
Technologies exist to make our life easier. There are just tools. They succeed incredibly at their mission… I don’t believe in a world without technologies, but I’m scared of the world controlled by technologies… Ambitious people, your happiness and success will depend on your ability to control those tools.
To discover that I had a problem with technologies I had to track my time on it. For this I used RescueTime. Put the app on your mobile phone and computer. It will track all the different activities you do on your screen.
- Every person who signs up for a free account through this link https://www.rescuetime.com/ref/1673272 , will give me 2 weeks of free premium access.
- If you prefer, you can just click here and I won’t receive premium access :p https://www.rescuetime.com
To track my sleeping time, I use Sleep of Android (Free too). I’m looking forward to hearing from your personal pieces of advice!