Every morning, like many people, the first thing I used to do waking up, is checking my smartphone, placed next to my bed.
At first, it was unconscious, as many. I was not able to realise what I was doing. Then discovering that everyone was doing this around me, I thought: Wow, how come the first thing we do waking up is checking a screen with social media, and email? We just woke up, don’t need to jump directly into traffic jam already!
Let’s go even further. As I was discovering studies and tons of data, here is what I found…
Half of smartphone owners aged from 18 to 24 checked their devices in the middle of the night. Compared with 14% of owners aged 65 or older.
A recent study conducted by Deloitte shows that:
43 percent of consumers check their phones within five minutes of waking up, and 17 percent check them immediately. This is the fifth year of Deloitte’s 2015 Global Mobile Consumer Survey, which covers almost 50,000 smartphone users aged 18 to 74 and spans 31 countries.
One obvious takeaway: Consumers are more connected now than ever. In fact, Deloitte found that Americans are looking at their smartphones a combined eight billion times per day, starting first thing in the morning. In addition, Deloitte found that 13 percent of consumers check their phone right before bed, and four percent even admit to checking their device more than 200 times per day. [Source]
As someone who grew up at the right time. Right in the middle of my childhood arrived the first computer (at home). A big grey box, (not so sexy – compared to my fancy Mac Book), with a very round, big mouse. All this thing was called Macintosh. I was fascinated by the rainbow Apple logo.
I liked it. I’m a kid and this is all new for me. Out of my television and cartoons – already saw Lion Kings thousand times! I grow up with the first computer and the Internet is popping (democratically) when I’m around 12. I’m not going to lie. With time, it’s getting really addictive. It’s kind of my way out of the insatisfaction of life – by this I mean teenage time.
The more I grew up. The more it got worst. I mean, first it was simple text on the vintage Nokia 3910. Then it was snake game on that same phone. Then it started to be with colours! So bad quality pictures came out. And now, we are close to be able to make coffee with our phone (very close, I’m pretty sure). Compared to many from my generation and other new coming generations, I feel there is a hint.
I’m a highly sensitive kind of person and I attach a lot of importance to my social interactions. I have never been good with communication on a phone. I need face to face interactions. The new area we are in is very intimidating to me. The more I’m looking at a new episode of Black Mirror, the more I’m getting scared by all of this new tech, called revolution, or innovation but could be also called for massive destruction of our consciousness.
If we look close enough, we didn’t had enough time (yet) to realise the true impact of tech in our daily lives and our physical brain (in a more scientific way). 16 years is not a lot.
Single note: The very first computer was born a long time ago (1822). But the « universal » access to computers (for our families and homes) is quite recent: Home computers were a class of microcomputers entering the market in 1977, and becoming common during the 1980s. At the time, it was closer to a typewriter. Perfect for « single tasks ». Internet was very limited compared to nowadays. Slow and Big enough for not being yet introduced in our intimate life. 🙂 [Source]
Should I remind you that cigarette at the very beginning was considered as healthy? No, I’m not saying tech is cigarette. It’s completely different. Look cigarette is creating a whole in your throats. Tech is creating a whole in your head. Just kidding !
But when I check the recent studies made on our new habits, called multitasking and his bad effects in our lives, I’m getting a little bit (lot) worried. Don’t you?
Check this out :
A study from the University of Sussex (UK) ran MRI scans on the brains of individuals who spent time on multiple devices at once (texting while watching TV, for example). The MRI scans showed that subjects who multitasked more often had less brain density in the anterior cingulate cortex. That’s the area responsible for empathy and emotional control.
A study at the University Of London showed that subjects who multitasked while performing cognitive tasks experienced significant IQ drops. In fact, the IQ drops were similar to what you see in individuals who skip a night of sleep or who smoke marijuana. Now that’s a terrifying thought. [Source]
One big piece of advice : Be wise using it.
Think more than twice before checking your phone for the 10th time of the day. Before checking it ask yourself this question:
Why am I doing that? Is it conscious or is it a simple repetitive impulsive twitch habit?
Don’t prioritise your phone over your friends, family, wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, cat or dog... Be the one in control of each moment of your life.
One of the many excuse I got : *It’s urgent.*
Are you the President of the United States? No. (except: Obama if you’re reading this, cheers :))
Have we been surviving without a smartphone under our eyes all the time? Yes we did survived. Hurrah everyone !
Are you very busy and not able being in the present moment? Then like many people you don’t know how to manage your time wisely.
We all have 24 hours a day. Obama have 24 hours a day, Steve Jobs had 24 hours a day, even François Hollande have 24 hours a day (no way?), and you have 24 hours a day (big news)!
If you check at the most successful people, in business, they know their priorities.
The key is : prioritising. Tim Ferris explained it very wisely in his book “4 hours week” (highly recommended).
You can’t be productive working on your smartphone while eating, looking at television and socialising (I’m not kidding). This is not (only) my point of view, this is science.
For instance, look at this (from Forbes 2014) : « Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers also found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time ». [Source]
Neuroscientists, the kind of people you want to listen since THIS IS LITERALLY THEIR FIELD OF SPECIALISATION (thanks guys for being here checking over our brains during this fast transforming period, time of history), said:
“That switching comes with a biological cost that ends up making us feel tired much more quickly than if we sustain attention on one thing”, says Daniel Levitin, professor of behavioral neuroscience at McGill University. “People eat more, they take more caffeine. Often what you really need in that moment isn’t caffeine, but just a break. If you aren’t taking regular breaks every couple of hours, your brain won’t benefit from that extra cup of coffee.”
Gloria Mark, professor in the department of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, says that when people are interrupted, it typically takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to their work, and most people will do two intervening tasks before going back to their original project. This switching leads to a build up of stress, she says, and so little wonder people who have high rates of neuroticism, impulsivity, and are susceptible to stress tend to switch tasks more than others. [Source]
I don’t hide the fact that like many people, I did, was addicted. I’m looking for progress not perfection. My progress is being in the present moment. Bring my focus to each moment, one task at a time. Prioritise each of my task of the day. When around people, not being reachable because everybody deserve my full attention. And every part of my world as well.
#How do I get away from this addictive and bad habits ?
Make your smartphone and screen as something available in a determined laps of time. For example, stop (put on flight mode) your phone from 7 or 8 p.m. And start it only one or two hours after waking up. Your phone can be [on] from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. This seems quite fair. A least, you have twelve hours without “being technologically connected”, to your smartphone and this is a huge step!
Like me [switch off] notifications. Except phone calls. If it’s really really urgent, and deserve to call or get your attention, people will call. Overwise, it’s not so important and it can wait your next “time to check up your phone”.
When you are on a specific task requesting your full attention, a meeting, or even a break (relax time is equally important to work), try to put your phone on flight mode. Remember, a simple alert on your phone put you out of your present moment, [work mode] or [relax mode]. It will take around 20 minutes to go back effectively on your previous task, at hand.
Try to check the phone no more than three times a day. Every 3 hours if you work in a time laps of 3 hours at a time. This could be really great.
Time checking your email? Yes there is a time for that (now). Checking your email two – three times a day is enough. Believe me…
#SWEET PIECE OF ADVICE:
Don’t break the flow. Follow your own flow of inspiration.
By the way, it’s all in your head so no need for smartphone, laptop, tablet or Internet! Life can be so easy & magic 🙂
P.S. Nonetheless, there are interesting solutions available out there. One of them, is Freedom. It helps me to get back the precious value of time while being in the present moment…