We know, we know, you’ve heard this a thousand times already: Facebook pokes, Instagram likes and Tinder swipes do no good to your ability to focus on the task at hand. The smartphone consumes so much of your attention that using it as you drive was admitted to be six times more dangerous than driving drunk.
The ever-growing stream of notifications is causing the smartphone owners to experience symptoms similar to those of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Most of us find it harder and harder to focus on the current tasks for more than a few minutes without feeling an urge to move on to something else.
But here’s something you probably didn’t know yet:
You can’t put an end to distractions by simply turning the “do not disturb” mode on, putting your phone down, and getting to work.
The latest study has shown that even the mere presence of your smartphone is reducing your cognitive capacity.
Image source: http://rethinkyourphone.com
The presence of your phone absorbs what the scientists call your automatic attention. This is an involuntary attention system that helps us to filter out all the relevant, potentially meaningful information from all the information that we get exposed to.
Even when you are not actually checking your phone, involuntarily and subconsciously you continue to pay some attention to your phone because you assume there might be something new and exciting going on in there that you’re missing out on. It even happens to the people who are over-involved with their phones to hear phantom ringing or vibrations – they just expect those signals so much!
Our brains have a limited capacity. A little part of your mind involved in keeping automatic attention on your phone means fewer cognitive resources available for other tasks.
The bottom line?
Even when you successfully control your urge to check your phone, it still eats up some of your attentional resources, and your ability to function in the world off-screen suffers.
Like with all addictions, take it one day at a time. The habits are hard to break, and our brain gets really, really used to being constantly stimulated with likes, messages and notifications delivered by our smartphones; it receives a little burst of dopamine every time you receive like, comment, or follow… and it begins to expect the next hit. That’s why when you break the chain, you can get real, physical withdrawal symptoms along with the strong urge to check your phone and even hearing phantom beeps, pings, and buzzes.
To get rid of your smartphone addiction (and later on, the smartphone itself), try these simple steps:
Establishing a healthy relationship with technology can bring huge changes to your everyday life.
You will get more productive. You will be using all of your attention for whatever is in front of you instead of it being pulled away by your phone – or your phone’s presence.
You will feel energized. All-day multitasking is exhausting! The time and energy which would previously be devoted to your phone can now be spent on living more of your own life.
You will experience some moments of pure presence. Most of us forgot the very feeling of looking at something beautiful with no attempt to take photos of it, share it, discuss it with others almost right away. Having no smartphone at hand will leave you no choice but to actually experience it fully, right there, right then.