Nielsen reports that American adults spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or simply interacting with media. Just four years ago, we would spend an average of nine hours and 32 minutes per day engaged in media.
We are watching videos, browsing social media, and swiping our lives away on tablets and smartphones.
This month, in the Mindful Membership, we are focusing on productivity hacks and how to reduce digital distractions.
"It's as if they're taking behavioral cocaine and just sprinkling it all over your interface and that's the thing that keeps you like coming back and back and back," said former Mozilla and Jawbone employee, Aza Raskin.
"Behind every screen on your phone, there are generally like literally a thousand engineers that have worked on this thing to try to make it maximally addicting," he added.
Mr. Raskin, a leading technology engineer himself, designed infinite scrollwhich allows users to endlessly swipe down through content without clicking.
"In order to get the next round of funding, in order to get your stock price up, the amount of time that people spend on your app has to go up. So, when you put that much pressure on that one number, you're going to start trying to invent new ways of getting people to stay hooked." Though his intentions were not meant for people to depend on media, he now feels guilty about his impact on technology.
Last year, Sean Parker, Facebook's founding president, said publicly that the company set out to consume as much usertime as possible.
He claimed it was "exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology."
So, what does all of this mean?
There are things in our lives competing for our energy and time. We have the choice on where to direct and focus our energy, whether it is social media, people, or stressful situations.
That being said, we can reduce temptation as much as possible while simultaneously developing our "focus muscle" (Week 1 of my On-Demand Programs).
You can find more on their website, but this is my favorite tip from The Center for Humane Technology:
Send audio notes or call instead of texting.
“Studies show that it’s common for people to misinterpret text messages, even from romantic partners, while voice is rich with tone and less vulnerable to misinterpretation. Recording a quick voice message is often faster and less stressful than typing out each letter. Plus, it doesn’t require your full visual attention. Note: Sometimes people are not in an environment where they can listen to an audio note, so be patient with your expectations of response time.”
From my perspective, there are so many nuances that get lost or misunderstood in our digital communication, especially if we are stressed. Most of the time a quick call can reduce 30 minutes of texting back and forth or misunderstanding creating issues.
To learn more hacks like this, join the Mindful Membership. In less than what you spend on Starbucks, you'll gain hours back in your day.