Cell phones, mobile e-mail, and all the other cool and slick gadgets can cause massive losses in our creative output and overall productivity. ~ Robin Sharma
Last week’s show was called the Devil’s in the Detail and looks at how small things if not taken care of and considered can be the downfall of any plan or project. Please go back and check it out if that’s something that you feel may apply to you. This week’s show is another that was researched and written by someone other than myself. Following on from Ian O’Neill’s show about taking breaks and Holidays, Christina Littleson of the Interesting people podcast as put together this one about our addiction to technology.
Available on all podcasting apps. Link to Apple podcasts below:
Addiction is a compulsive behavior that disrupts your life in some way. If you’re preoccupied with something, spending more and more time and/or money on it, despite it having serious consequences in your life, career or relationships, you have a problem.
It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. Albert Einstein
You’re listening to this on a piece of modern technology. Not a bad thing. Technology can be helpful in many ways, but according to Camino Recovery, it is one of the top 10 addictions of Modern Society.
When we think of addiction, we tend to think of the more common disease of drug and alcohol addiction. Which is still among the most common addictions in the world today. An addiction though can be a behavioral dependence on something, and this can interfere with our lives in the same way as a chemical addiction.
According to Camino, the Top Ten addictions in the world today are Coffee, Tobacco and Nicotine, Alcohol, Sex and Porn, illegal and prescription drugs, Gambling, The Internet and Modern Technology, Video Games, Food and Work. Other addictions include Shopping, Exercise, Busy-ness, compulsive hoarding and more recently, bitcoin.
A really obvious example of Technology addiction would be checking your phone. Have you missed whole or parts of conversations people are having with you because you’re checking or thinking of checking your it? I you recognise what I am talking about then that is technology addiction.
Not only does it come across as rude, but it can cause people to fall out or you might miss something important at work or in the home that can later cause mistakes or potential danger. Loved ones might feel like your phone is more important to you than them.
Just as physical addictions like coffee, tobacco/nicotine, alcohol and illegal or prescription drugs have an addictive chemical included that plays a part in the addiction, behavioural addictions can also give us the same high and cause similar dependence. Addiction has a mental as well as physical element.
Nowadays we get a dopamine hit just from getting a notification on our phone and the likes, comments, shares and other interactions from our social media help to build that response. When we don’t get these, we can then get FOMO or Fear of Missing out. (Later episode?) We get this from looking at other people’s lives on social media and comparing them to our own which can easily lead to anxiety and depression. This perpetuates a vicious circle as when we are anxious, we are far more likely to check our phone or look on the internet, leading to the same thing happening again and again. On that note folks don’t forget that the internet only shows the highlight reel of our lives, and it isn’t a true reality, so don’t allow yourself to get brought down by it.
*Psychology Today reports on a new phobia, No Mo Phobia. Nomophobia is a term describing a growing fear in today’s world—the fear of being without a mobile device, or beyond mobile phone contact. Do you feel a bit lost without your mobile phone or access to the internet or social media? If you do, then you know what I’m talking about.
Do you check it when you wake up in the morning? Social media, email, YouTube, news sites or even eBay? Maybe your bid’s wining or your item’s selling, your favourite channel has uploaded a new video, you might have been sent an important email while you slept or something important might have been posted on social media that you don’t want to miss? Sound familiar?
Well, that’s what I’m talking about. In the same way a smoker must hold a cigarette, or they don’t know what to do with their hands, someone addicted to their mobile phone must pick it up even when they have no real need or reason to. This is the addiction of modern technology. We need to hold the device and check it. We need that dopamine kick. We need to avoid FOMO.
Social media has given us this idea that we should all have a posse of friends when in reality, if we have one or two really good friends, we are lucky. Brené Brown
Addictions to modern technology can also affect our memory. Do you remember a time before mobile phones, when you memorised people’s numbers? Now we don’t need to, we just store it under a name on our phone and press the person’s name to call them. We don’t need to remember people’s birthdays anymore. Facebook or Google calendar or similar apps remind us. Delegating information to your device means you no longer need to use your memory and when you’re not using your memory, it gets worse.
The constant blue light from devices can also have an effect on us. The blue light can cause dry eyes, sore heads and can cause you to lose sleep.
If we expand on this - modern technology has also made other addictions easier. Gambling, video games and shopping are 3 of these. We don’t have to face a real person, we can hide what we’re doing and as you are not handing over money in a shop or casino, it doesn’t feel like you are really parting with money until the bank statement arrives. We can ignore the fact that real money is going out. In the same way as the convenience of paying by card in a shop makes it feel like we’re not really spending, we don’t see how much physical money we are handing over. It’s so easy to tap a card on a machine and go that we can ignore how much we spend. It doesn’t feel real.
Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road. Stewart Brand
*According to HelpGuide.org, your gambling goes from a fun, harmless diversion to an unhealthy obsession with serious consequences. Although it may not seem like it, the same can be said for online shopping. We buy things to make us feel better and before we know it, this is what we continue to do every time we need that same dopamine kick. We then find ourselves justifying or making excuses for the things we buy, even when we know ourselves, we don’t need them. We can then find ourselves putting off paying important bills and get ourselves into debt.
People who are heavily into gaming should be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities, as well as to any changes in their physical or psychological health and social functioning that could be attributed to their pattern of gaming behavior. (College)
People with gaming addictions can lose sleep and concentration and spend so much time on gaming that they isolate themselves and become unsociable.
The question is “In a world with so many temptations, how do we get anything done at all?”
Tony Robbins says "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." And in order to beat these addictions we must first do the one thing most of us hate doing, look at ourselves. We can always find ways of not looking at ourselves or of justifying why we do it. We can look at others and think ‘people are doing worse things than me’ or ‘at least I’m not hurting anyone’ or ‘I’m not using drugs or committing crimes’ so how can I be an addict? By doing that, the only people we fool are ourselves. We need to get past that and look at ourselves, our relationships, our careers and our lives and the consequences of what we are doing.
This is when we can take something from 12 step addiction programs and apply them to our lives, even if we don’t think we are an addict.
We must be completely honest and admit to ourselves that we have a problem that we have become powerless over. We need to continually look at ourselves and our behaviors.
*If you are in doubt about an addictive personality, answer yes or no to each question and decide for yourself. Be honest.
Is something you are continually doing affecting your home life, relationships, career or productivity?
Do you care more about it than chatting to or spending time with people in real life?
Do people get annoyed with you because of it?
Do you need to do it more than once a day?
Do you find yourself thinking about it when you are not doing it?
Do you sometimes use it as an escape from reality or boredom?
Are you spending money on it that you shouldn’t?
Are you hiding what you are doing or lying about it?
Does your motivation, ambition or efficiency decrease because of it?
Do you ever feel bad or guilty because if it? Even if that’s with yourself for wasting time you should have spent on something else?
Does it cause you difficulty sleeping or are you going to sleep later than you should because of it?
Is it the first thing on your mind in the morning?
Do you feel lost when you’re not doing it?
Do you ever think ‘I shouldn’t do this as much’?
If you answered yes to even one question, there’s a chance you have a problem. If you answered yes to 3 or more, you almost certainly have a problem.
For the wise have always known that no one can make much of his life until self-searching has become a regular habit until he is able to admit and accept what he finds, and until he patiently and persistently tries to correct what is wrong. Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous Bill W
No one’s asking you to give up your technology or whatever else you are doing forever. Just right now. Put it down or cut off whatever it is you have identified and take an honest look at yourself. Do you have a problem? What is causing it? Boredom, FOMO, anxiety or something else. Continue to look at and be honest with yourself.
When you are thinking of doing it, tell yourself you won’t do it right now. You can tell yourself that as many times as you like when you are tempted. At the end of each day, turn the word now round and you won that day.
Mahatma Gandhi said We cannot, in a moment, get rid of habits of a lifetime and in order to beat these addictions you need to ask yourself honestly and regularly, why you need to do something you are doing. Ask yourself do you need to watch that video, play that game, check that email, buy those shoes? If the answer is NO, then don’t. But be careful too not to switch one addiction for another.
Leave your phone in another room, don’t always carry it with you or have it beside you. Between certain hours, say 9 pm and 7 am, switch it to Do Not Disturb and switch off notifications. I leave my phone in another room and read from a kindle in my bed. If you have important emails or messages coming in, make a point of setting times throughout the day that you check for these, don’t have the phone sitting beside you and check it every few minutes.
Develop a general awareness to, so that if someone is talking to you, you are in company, eating, in the toilet, reading or watching TV etc, put the phone away and don’t check it. Is that new video, social media post or another site/app really that more important that you can’t wait? Is it worth upsetting a loved one for? Are you bored? Then put the phone down and do something else. A very simple thing you can do if you are constantly on social media, is to delete the app altogether, so that if you feel the need to tweet for example you have to put a bit more effort in, looking it up on google, signing in etc. all of this makes it easier for you to give up. By killing these addictions, removing the temptations you will be able to take back control. It’s a return once again to the high-level thinking which I talk about here often.
The only limits on human achievement are self-imposed. Denis Waitley
If something you’ve been meaning to do for a while, go and do it or spend time with those friends and family, the real ones that you are lucky to have. Put your phone down and chat with them in real life instead.
Thanks once again for choosing to spend your valuable time here with me today. I really do appreciate it. If you have a friend that you feel may benefit from listening to the show please do pass n the link and ask them to subscribe. I am on social media quite regularly, although I try not to get too addicted to it, and you can follow the show on Twitter @filmproprodpod or on Facebook @filmproprodcutivity. I also have a page on LinkedIn @filmproproductivity if you’d like to join me there btw.
In next week’s show I’ll attempting to answer a question that’s been put to me many many times. What’s the difference between procrastination, and laziness? If that sounds like something you’d like to hear then please join me then.
I hope to see you there but in the mean time I’ll end with some words from Benjamin Alire Saenz who said If you can quit for a day, you can quit for a lifetime.
Now take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY AND SUCCESS!
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Season 9 Executive Producer: Christopher McPhillips from Artos Digital
2-time winners of 'Social Media Agency of the Year' at the Prestige Awards; Artos Digital specialise in marketing communications, coaching and personal branding. Owner Christopher McPhillips launched the business from his home in Bathgate and now works alongside his wife, Electra, for specialised event-management and fundraising. Enjoying a broad portfolio of clients over the years, ranging from established enterprises to start-up's - a good fit for Artos Digital given their adaptable and agile approach. Christopher and Electra have combined their talents for three significant clients this past year: Reconnect, a SCIO who run the Regal Theatre in Bathgate; Pro2 Wrestling in Ayr; and Puppet Animation Scotland in Edinburgh.
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