Do you find yourself checking your phone while waiting in lines, or while waiting for your food to come at a restaurant? Or maybe you check it on breaks at work or while waiting at the veterinarian’s office. This last Saturday while I was working, a couple came with a couple of pups for vaccinations, and as I observed them, it became apparent to me that both had their phones glued to their hands for every single minute, and with virtually every non-eventful minute, both had their eyes glued to their phone screens.
But for many people, it isn’t just screen time, it is internet time on a desktop or laptop that we may be addicted too as well. The internet holds valuable information, great learning opportunity, and knowledge for the creation of advantages, but we must always be working to make sure the time on the internet truly is creating “value” for us or is just a distraction fulfilling an addictive hormone release in our brain and body. If one is using the internet to escape reality, or we “hop on” for non-specific use, or we are getting repeated “urges” to “hop on”, we may need to look at having a digital detox.
Our struggle is real, as we, me included, give in to distraction and the internet provides a mountainous amount of distractive stimuli. These distractive stimuli, in turn, affect our ability to concentrate on higher levels, complete volumes of work, or simply be present with our families. The point of this post is to recognize these persistent distractions that we almost can’t escape from and strengthen our mental muscles to not give in to the distraction, do some mental calisthenics, and to schedule your internet time making sure when you do “hop on” there is a specific purpose creating value for you when you do so, not just to fill an urge or escape reality.
The temptation to go online is real, and the internet is seductive, even if you get on for one email. You often then take on a chain of emails or always go to another site. But the 66-day challenge for you is to go offline, have offline power, and offline presence with your teammates and your family. Schedule your internet use at home and at work! Maybe you online check your email first thing, at noon, and at mid-afternoon. The key isn’t to reduce the distracting behavior, but the key is to grow your ability to embrace boredom and increase your thoughts and concentration for real presence, growth, and deeper relationships. Doing those things will in turn unconsciously reduce the distracting behavior.