As much as we love our phones, we have to admit, they can be distracting. Responding to every ding can distract us away from the good stuff — people and experiences that matter more in that moment.
Tristan Harris of Time Well Spent is an ex-Google Design Ethicist and an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities. He’s on a mission to help align technology with our humanity and improve the quality of our lives. Harris believes that instead of letting our phones rule our days and how we live, we can organize them to make them people-centric.
Watch as he shares some things you can do now to unhijack your mind by reorganizing your phone.
The coach says:
For all the media Harris is getting for his efforts to bring awareness to the attention economy, not much will change for you and the billions of people on social media he’s trying to reach until you become aware of the cost. As with any addiction, it’s hard to help an addict until they become aware of the problem themselves.
I invite you then (if Harris’ interview sparks an awareness in you), to do a short social media detox of one day to see if notice a difference in how you spend your time.
People who decided to make a permanent change did so after noticing their anxiety levels went down or they were more present with their mates.
Harris isn’t saying we need to give up social media and our beloved apps. Even though I’m too busy to use social media, I can see value in almost all them: Facebook keeps me connected to friends and family on the east coast and around the world. Instagram is a photographer’s dream–I love seeing photos from Reese Witherspoon, yogi Lauren Williams @laurenj.williams and to see how my dear friend Jo’s kids are growing up. I use Pinterest to save all sorts of design and style inspiration and spend waaaay too much time on YouTube watching (what else?) home makeovers or trying to make sense of my natural hair. I also love music videos and TedTalks! Twitter is not a favorite because there’s too much political noise over there and LinkedIn has lost meaning for me since I left the corporate world but I keep it. I also use quite a few apps for dictating, video conferencing, etc., and don’t plan to give them up.
What Harris has learned after a decade researching the invisible influences of apps however, is that we’ve let them take over and instead of managing them, we’ve let them manage us.
He is trying to make us aware that these dings and alerts on our phones are designed to be addictive. As with any addiction, they take away from, instead of enhancing our lives. And as with any addiction, once we’re hooked we still believe the initial benefit we got from our “drug” is still there.
An addictive mind easily lose focus. Addictive personalities are more prone to anxiety and depression. If you’re addicted to anything, you have an almost zero chance of reaching your potential, sticking to goals and healthier interests like sports, writing and learning a language.
The step down method:
Once you recognize your addiction and is ready to change, it will take some mind tricks to make it happen. A simple and very effective way to beat this type of addiction is with the step-down method: Begin using your phone to excel at something you’re interested in. Like photography, take a few photography classes, watch some YouTube videos, read a book or blogs to teach yourself how to excel on Instagram and shift your focus to building your mastering IG and increasing your followers. Because you love photography and is doing what you love, you’ll distract yourself and spend less time on the other apps. Want to learn a language? Same thing… there are apps for that!