Technology’s a mofo. On the one hand, yes, it’s created a revolutionary business environment. But on the other? It’s mugging productivity and murdering creativity.
Smartphones are the worst offenders. Our days are dominated by rings, dings, buzzes, and red notification circles.
This onslaught of digital interruptions brings important work to a grinding halt. Focus is diluted. Momentum never builds. Tasks take twice as long to complete, while mistakes double.
As if that’s not gnarly enough, sh*t stresses you out, even if you don’t realize it. Thoughts run amok.
- What’s Facebook saying about my new profile pic?
- I hope that email isn’t from an unhappy client.
- A comment below my YouTube video? (Probably a troll.)
- Wait, Conor McGregor got knocked out in sparring?
- That’s weird, a voicemail from my dentist – has it been six months already?
- How many people died in that shooting?
All this negative anticipation releases adrenaline and cortisol, which hijack certain parts of the brain responsible for creative thinking.
(For more of the science behind it, read the book Friction by Jeff Rosenblum. It’s about creating a “passion brand” in the age of disruption. And it’s muy good.)
Anyways, it’s time to do something about it.
And that something is pretty straightforward: admit and commit. First, admit you’re addicted to all the checking, refreshing, liking, swiping, texting, time-wasting. And second, commit to cutting back.
Like any bad habit, easier said than done, right? But I’ll tell you what’s worked well for me.
And that is, to use activation energy in my favor. I learned this, by the way, from Shawn Achor in The Happiness Advantage.
Nothing earth-shattering, but what you do is, you make it harder (increase the activation energy) to initiate the habit you’re trying to get rid of.
So, I leave my phone in the other room, on silent. Or I power it down altogether. Plus, I’ve removed almost all apps. And I make it a point to spend some time outside each day, phone-free. Just me, my thoughts, and mother nature. And finally, I have a rule: no phone for the first hour I’m up each morning.
Simple stuff, but it works. You have to make it harder to scratch the itch. That’s all.
Before long, you’ll notice yourself getting more done, coming up with better ideas, and actually growing your biz instead of grinding all day and getting nowhere.
Seriously. Put some space between you and all digital devices. Millions of dollars in unrealized profit are at stake.