I have noticed lately that I’ve been obsessed with my phone. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the news. I’m sick of social media (except my blog, of course). I’m sick of comments from mean, nasty people who incite anger and fear in me. I’m tired of missing pieces of conversations because I’m distracted. I’m way tired of looking for it. I’m even sick of charging the damn thing. And, yet, I’m still constantly checking it. Even my dog seems to hate the damn thing.
Psychologists refer to unpredictable rewards as “intermittent reinforcements.” I call them “the reason we date jerks.”
~~ Catherine Price in How to Break Up With Your Phone
I’ve listened to several podcasts about our addictions to our smartphones. Tristan Harris used to work at a tech company where they worked day and night to develop ways to addict us and manipulate our minds. They use psychology to hook us. And they hook us in order to sell our attention to advertisers. In the meantime, we are being used, manipulated and coerced into looking away from our lives, our feelings and our creativity.
Check out this Ted Talk for more on how they do it…..
I’m not going to get outraged by what “they” are doing because that’s not productive. I’m going to do something about what “I” can do. Since I’ve listened to the first podcasts, I’ve changed a few habits. I take breaks every now and again. I removed social media apps from my phone. I turned off all notifications. But, inevitably I get sucked in again. I wake up and do it again…. over and over.
I’m in an addictive cycle, and it’s not good for me. I spend too much money because crap is so easy to buy online. And if I do manage to not buy something I’m obsessing about, the ads haunt me until I eventually give in. I stalk people I don’t even care about on social media out of boredom. And I consume way too much news. I used to be the girl that said, “If it doesn’t happen on my front porch, I don’t know about it.” And , the thing is, I was very happy and content in my ignorance.
Catherine Price has developed a 30-day program that introduces a new habit every day to help me understand what works for me with my smartphone and what doesn’t. Right now, I’m just blindly driven by the dopamine-induced habits the tech companies have created. I’d like to be able to use my smartphone for my good instead of to my detriment.
Honestly, one of the reasons I don’t write as much anymore is because I’m so distracted by the news that my mind doesn’t wander. In order to write, my mind has to wander, make obscure connections and come up with random ideas. I want to be creative again. So, I’m committing. I’m going to break up with my smartphone. We can still be friends, but the romance is over. It’s just not working for me.
The first thing Catherine says is to recruit a friend to join me. I’ll remind you that we don’t have to give up our phone. This is simply a series of experiments to understand what is good about our phones and what we’d like to surrender. Anybody in?
You might want to buy the book, too. The first section gives you some great information on why that smartphone is killing your memory and your ability to read books, destroying your creativity and maybe even ruining your relationships. What have you got to lose?