Your Brain, Smartphones and the Internet
Hi, lads : ) Hope I find you in a good energized mood.
I’ve touched on this topic before, but I can’t get enough from it because I might suffer from attention deficit and keeping focus is tough for me. And, as I believe I am aware of the fact, I also believe most others don’t seem to be, like alcoholics or drug addicts, slowly degrading their quality of life without noticing it.
In a 2002 paper, researchers found that for 70% of messages, it took the average worker only 6 seconds to react to a notification for an unread email.
Now, that’s from a 2002 paper! 16 years later, much more connectivity and the mass adoption of smartphones and social media…
A survey of 1,100 Britons by TNS Research and Hewlett Packard found that workers distracted by emails, phone calls, and texts suffered a greater loss of IQ than a person smoking marijuana. Another study by McCombs School of Business, at the University of Texas at Austin, found that merely having a smartphone in reach, even if it’s off, reduces our cognitive capacity.
The average American struggles to go more than 10 minutes without checking their phone, but are reading fewer books a year. We have literally become addicted to distraction.
I am 100% I fall into this category of “nearby smartphone or computer” means more anxiety and less concentration. Reason why, in my office, I have a room without internet or computer and I block computer/phone usage through Freedom (below). Reading Room = just a couch, a desk, a chair and a reading lamp. Cell phones not allowed in it.
Allostatic Load, anyone?
From “Your Brain at Work” by David Rock (2009):
Tools to help focus when handling computer + smartphone:
Freedom is fantastic. There’s a limit to our willpower, with each individual having different level of willpower for different aspects of life (eating, working, exercising, etc). A lot of it started with environment we always lived in, but whole lot of it just came from your genes. I block my e-mail everyday from 9am to 11h45am on Desktop and iPhone.
Freedom is an app you install in all your electronic devices and it blocks what you want it to block, at the time you want it to block. You can block all Social Media apps from 8am-noon. Or you can block ALL websites and Apps from 3-5pm because you get easily distracted but need to finish an important project this week on MS Word.
I block my e-mail everyday from 9am to 11h45am on Desktop and iPhone and all apps + websites between 4-5pm.
Many websites have a throng of advertising and links within the articles one is reading, meaning possibilities of distraction. Nudges to click away before you finish the article of your interest.
EmailThis will add a button to your Chrome browser and, by clicking it, it sends you the article, CLEAN for reading, to your e-mail address
I use it for an extra feature which is a step-further in my “remaining focused strategy”: I print the cleaned-up articles and take the pages to my Reading Room.
“xTab”: Chrome Extension
You like have +10 tabs opened in your browser right now. Which keeps your unconscious mind anxious. To prevent that, so you can actually finish ALL the Tabs you opened for a reason or to prioritize opening ONLY what you want, until you finish it, there’s xTab.
xTab blocks you from opening too many tabs. You can define the number of tabs allowed in your browser. I picked 4.
Older posts about the subject: