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This episode is sponsored by PETRA KOLB

Things changed when my phone outsmarted me. Once Facebook had a permanent place in my pocket, it became a permanent portal—able to transport me away from my family. Even if we were physically in the same room, I wasn’t necessarily there with them. Facebook was no longer simply a naptime vacation but an all-day form of escapism. Wendy Speake

That’s from her book The 40-Day Social Media Fast: Exchange Your Online Distractions for Real-Life Devotion btw a book worth looking at if you are interested in today’s topic.

This episode is very much connected to last week's show where I looked into Cal Newport’s theory of Deep Work, that’s achieving a state of flow where you get your best work done. This week I am going to try and convince you to cut back on social media, Facebook and the use of technology so that you can find again the focus you need for success.

Digital detoxes have gained significance in today's fast-paced, technology-driven world but what are they all about? I’ve talked often here about my addiction to YouTube. I finally kicked it when I simply removed the app from my phone – I also removed Facebook. You see I’d often feel like before I’d even got up for the day, that I’d be on those apps looking at short videos. End result was that I often felt that I’d already done a shift in watching video after video for the dopamine kick. Here’s the thing though. My devious mind soon discovered that Instagram has the same video option though, and I continued to waste my time there.

That quote I used a few weeks ago, comes to mind in all this - Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing. I don’t choose to waste as much of my life on social media as I have been. It bothers me. It annoys me. It depresses me. One study discovered that Americans spend an average of four hours watching TV and about seven-and-a-half hours on digital devices. Unsurprisingly, so much screen time is stressing many of us out.

If using electronic media causes you to have any of the following experiences, it’s a sign that you may need to disconnect.

· Depressed mood.

· Increased irritability, frustration or anger.

· Feeling insecure.

· Loss of sleep or interrupted sleep.

· Feeling obligated to consume, respond, react or check-in.

If that sounds like you, then keep on listening.

A red flag is if you’re losing interest in being social in person because you’d rather just connect with people online. Kai-Rai Prewitt

Let’s quickly talk about Dopamine. What the heck is it? Well, in short, Dopamine is a chemical neurotransmitter released in the brain that makes you feel good.

And Dopamine plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It's a big part of our unique human ability to think and plan. It helps us strive, focus, and find things interesting.

Your body spreads it along four major pathways in the brain. Like most other systems in the body, you don’t notice it (or maybe even know about it) until there’s a problem.

Too much or too little of it can lead to a vast range of health issues. Some are serious, like Parkinson’s disease. Others are much less dire.

The connection between dopamine and digital devices/social media lies in the way these platforms can trigger the release of dopamine. It works like this:

The use of digital devices and social media triggers anticipation and reward. We anticipate notifications, likes, comments, and new content, and the reward comes in the form of a dopamine release when we receive them.

When we receive a notification or a positive interaction on social media, dopamine is released in the brain. This release of dopamine creates a pleasurable sensation, reinforcing the behaviour and motivating us to seek it again.

Feedback loop and addictive behaviour: The anticipation and reward cycle, fuelled by dopamine, can create a feedback loop that leads to addictive behaviours. We become conditioned to seek out and engage with digital devices or social media platforms in the pursuit of that pleasurable dopamine release. This can result in excessive use, compulsive checking, and difficulty disengaging from these digital experiences. That’s the habit we pick up all too quickly, like drug addiction, to dopamine.

I am old enough to remember a time before all this. I remember going to the bank and waiting in line and not taking out a phone to kill the time. Do any of you remember that time?

Understanding the connection between dopamine and digital devices/social media can help us be more aware of our behaviours. In turn, we can make conscious decisions about their usage, ensuring a healthier relationship with technology. And that brings me back to the topic of today’s show.

A digital detox is an escape from all of this. An opportunity to reclaim a sense of balance, reduce stress, and think about your mental well-being. It involves disconnecting from screens, social media, and digital communication for a set period of time. By taking a break from our devices, we can invest more time and attention in building meaningful relationships with friends, family, and the world around us.

The reason that I’m bringing all this up of course is that above all else, in time management terms, continuous engagement with digital technology can be a sure-fire killer of productivity. If you don’t recognise that I am very pleased for you, as it’s one of the greatest problems we face in the modern world.

Things people avoid during a digital detox may include:

· Checking email.

· Playing video games.

· Scrolling social media.

· Text messaging.

· Using smartphones or tablets.

· Watching news or other TV programs.

taking a break from viewing or engaging in social media is the most popular form of digital detox. Negative social media experiences can trigger anxiety and depression and affect self-esteem. I’ve already done a show on this topic called Less Scrolling, More Living, but here are 5 clear benefits I have found from the regular social media detoxes which I have taken.

  1. Increased focus and productivity. Digital distractions, such as notifications, emails, and social media, can fragment our attention and hinder our ability to focus deeply on important tasks. By disconnecting from digital devices, we can cultivate better concentration, enhance our productivity, and accomplish more meaningful work.

  2. Improved mental and emotional well-being. Continuous exposure to digital devices, social media, and constant connectivity can lead to information overload, increased stress levels, and decreased mental well-being. Taking a break from technology allows us to recharge, reduce anxiety, and regain a sense of calm.

  3. Enhanced real-life connections and relationships. Excessive screen time can lead to a decline in real-life interactions and connections. A digital detox encourages us to engage in face-to-face conversations, spend quality time with loved ones, and participate in activities that foster genuine human connections.

  4. Reduced anxiety and stress levels. By taking a break, we have an opportunity to disconnect from the virtual world, focus on our own thoughts, engage in mindful activities, and gain clarity about our values and priorities. All of this has a really positive impact on our anxiety and stress.

  5. Reclaiming valuable time for other activities and self-care. Constant digital engagement leaves little room for self-reflection and introspection. Cutting off these activities opens up the opportunity for you to rediscover old hobbies and other fun stuff.

To sum up, Digital detoxes help us reassess our dependence on technology and set healthier boundaries. It allows us to become more mindful of our digital habits, set limitations on screen time, and develop a more balanced approach to using technology.

They serve as a means to counterbalance the overwhelming presence of technology in our lives. They provide an opportunity to disconnect, recharge, and prioritize our well-being and relationships, and ultimately foster a healthier and more intentional relationship with technology.

Do I really need to give you a call to action this week? Well, here’s one anyway. Plan a digital week-long digital detox and DO IT. If you like where it's heading, extend it to a month. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Identify the behaviour you want to change.

2. Set specific goals for reducing or eliminating that behaviour.

3. Commit to at least two weeks for the change to take effect.

4. Seek support from friends or family to stay accountable.

5. Regularly assess your progress and beware of replacing one digital habit with another.

6. Reflect on the benefits and barriers experienced and consider long-term changes based on your detox results.

Good luck.

I’m absolutely not a believer in cancel culture so even though he was a very bad boy at the Oscars I’ll end today with a relevant quote from Will Smith who said something relevent to all this – he said Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings and emotions. Let’s face it folks. He has a point.

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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