As someone who uses their phone as their device for primary contact, I bounce between seven social media/communication apps daily in order to connect with others. Yup, seven. While that might sound like a lot, each app has its own specific function and are split between personal and professional uses. For purely personal interactions, here are the apps I frequent: Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. On the professional side, you have: LinkedIn, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Altogether, that only adds up to six. The final app is Gmail, which teeters back and forth between professional/personal depending on which account I use.
A Whole Other Universe
Take a moment to think about your day. How many people did you call? Did you send off more emails than you received? When you politely disagreed with someone, did you furrow your brows? Whether you inherently notice it or not, humans are always communicating with one another. Through body language, vocalization, and specialized squiggles called “letters” we are able to transmit our ideas and feelings. Steady advancements in telecommunication through the 19th century to the present day allows us the option to choose the best delivery method and how exactly we will converse. Recently, industry experts have expressed worry that technology is overtaking our cultures and institutions because it develops so much quicker. How can we, as a society, be on a level playing field with objects that upgrade every year or so? (Here’s looking at you, Apple.)
What I’ve Learned So Far…
After seven long weeks of researching deep work, focus, and technology for my master’s coursework, I realized that the majority of my stress was coming from places designed to do so. Each feature on my smartphone was carefully created to elicit a neurological response and hormone release so that it became harder and harder to put down. After learning that I spent upwards of three hours a day just on my iPhone alone, I began to astutely observe exactly how technology impacted my life.
After tracking my usage, I confirmed that at the end of an average day, I would be spending at least 14 hours of it in front of a screen. Quantifying my usage and becoming more aware of it, made it easy to see the negative impacts of smartphones and social media. The constant typing and tapping on my tech caused old injuries in my wrists and hands to become inflamed. My sleep was so affected that I would often time struggle to stay awake during the morning commute. Life became increasingly more sedentary, more depressing, and it was a miracle if I ever managed to get outside. This realization caused me to feel disappointed in myself – this wasn’t optimal and it certainly didn’t feel like living anymore.
During my Data Detox, it was clear that I felt so much better once I was finally able to relinquish my screens. I paid more attention to the important things, and I even felt like I smiled more. This experience urged me to talk about what I had been feeling and to spread the knowledge I’ve learned. My white paper “Get Deep: Improving Your Health and Wellness by Changing Your Mind” culminates technology addiction, deep work, and the research conducted on this blog so that others can start recognizing and reestablishing their personal relationship with their tech, mind, and body.
Download my white paper here!
As an artist, I always have a pit in my stomach when I work in traditional mediums. Every detail is painstakingly applied, with a watchful eye and sweaty palms. Moments like these take me back to printmaking where any mistake, no matter how small, could ruin your final product. I left every single one of those classes exhausted and sore. My fingers were cramped from carving into wooden planks and my shirt looked like it had been used to mop up a molten rainbow. Some studio nights would last until four in the morning, yielding nothing but failure – and yet, there was something about that class that I loved, especially when I got it right.
“Living the focused life is not about trying to feel happy all the time…rather, it’s about treating your mind as you would a private garden and being as careful as possible about what you introduce and allow to grow there.”
– Winifred Gallagher