I’m addicted. You are too.
Dopamine is the drug. Our smartphones are the delivery mechanism.
On average we check our smartphones 200 times a day. And every time we check them, we get a little hit of dopamine.
Dopamine is a pleasure-seeking neurotransmitter in the brain. It seeks out novelty. It’s stimulated by unpredictability. It thrives on anticipation. It wants more and different.
When we dive into our emails and text messages; when our news alerts go off; when we surf through Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn; our brains are awash with dopamine.
And oh how we love our dopamine.
Like crack cocaine, it’s addictive.
The more we get, the more we desire it.
Research suggests that smartphone addiction can be every bit as powerful as drug addiction. Being away from our smartphones can leave us moody, anxious and panicky.
But that’s not the real downside.
Smartphone addiction robs us of our productivity. Interruption science demonstrates clearly that when we shift our attention from one thing to another, there is a drag on our focus, an attention residue. The drag has been measured: It takes us at least 11 minutes to re-focus completely. So some simple math: 200 checks of the smartphone x 11 minutes of lost attention per check = 36.6 hours of lost attentive productivity each day. (Talk about deficit spending. Not only do we feel as if we never get caught up, the reality is that we never really do.)
Smartphone addiction robs of our ability to connect: to really connect with one another on a deep and meaningful level. To be here now in this one and only moment. To breathe in the air. To experience the present. To really relate to and honor one another.
(Next time you’re standing in line, look around you. Almost every head is down. Getting another hit of dopamine.)
Even more than that, smartphone addiction cause our brains become soft. We lose the ability to focus. We lose the capacity to do deep, uninterrupted work. Work that matters. Creative work. Breakthrough work. Legacy work.
In The Shallows, Nicolas Carr says, “We willingly accept the loss of concentration and focus, the division of our attention and the fragmentation of our thoughts, in return for the wealth of compelling or at least diverting information we receive.”
In a New York Times piece entitled Addicted To Distraction, Energy Project CEO Tony Schwartz writes, “One evening early this summer, I opened a book and found myself reading the same paragraph over and over, a half dozen times before concluding that it was hopeless to continue. I simply couldn’t marshal the necessary focus.”
Schwartz is not alone. I experience the very same thing all too often.
We all love a good hit of dopamine.
But if you really want to succeed, if you really want to thrive, get clean. Do what Cal Newport refers to as Deep Work.
Get focused. The future will belong to those who can.
Would you like to increase your focus and productivity? Go HERE now and download my free guide, 7 Productivity Hacks.