Technology is only going to keep invading the nooks and crannies of our life. We can help ourselves and our clients by treating it like a tool that needs our active guidance, instead of welcoming it passively into our lives as the enemy.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – these are all services designed not only to gain your attention and brain cycles, but to keep it for as long as possible. They are designed from a neurocognitive perspective to take advantage of the stimulus-reward system – and they work wonderfully in keeping you captive.
The solution to technologies designed to take advantage of the psychology of attention is to use those technologies in a more mindful, attentive manner. Turn off alerts and check them on your own schedule. Nothing is so important on any of these services that it can’t wait.
Too many of us become hostages of the technology that is supposed to not only help improve our lives, but also make us feel better. Research shows that when we allow these kinds of social media to interrupt the natural flow of our lives, it can actually make us more distracted, lonely, and less happy.
Doing things in small batches throughout the day is another helpful technique to try. Instead of answering every email as it comes in, check it once in the morning, afternoon, and evening – on your schedule. Same with Facebook.
You can get a handle on technology in your life. But just as we counsel our clients, you need to make an active effort to change your relationship with it in order for things to change. Start a little bit at a time and get used to the new routine slowly over time. Before you know it, you may find your relationship to technology becoming healthier and less stressful.
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By John Grohol, Psy.D.