It’s 8 AM. You open your eyes, still drowsy, and think of all the work you have to do today. Picking up your phone, you check all the WhatsApp messages you received during the night so that you don’t miss anything important. Then you start checking your Instagram feed for a while, scrolling down on the infinite feed. You see a funny reel in your feed and then you continue watching a few more reels. You look at the time and it is 8:40 now, you got a little late. You don’t feel sleepy anymore so you get up and do your daily chores.
What do you do when you are in public transport, travelling to work? After you ordered food at a restaurant? Bored at work/school?
I believe you use your mobile phone in all these situations, just like the thousands of others who do the same. I too do the same. Website taking too long to load on my PC? Let me check my messages on my phone. Code compiling? Check notifications on Twitter. No matter what, we all keep checking our phones all the time.
How good is this is for us?
When was the last time you were bored for more than 15 minutes? And bored means no usage of mobile phone, PC, or any other device. Can you sit straight for 10 minutes without doing anything?
Our mind is constantly bombarded with notifications, messages, and emails. This distracts us and we lose focus from what we were working on. A person uses his smartphone for an average of 5 hours per day! This is almost 1/3 of your awake time. And this smartphone usage is not a single time block, but rather smaller chunks of time. Every time you use your smartphone in the middle of your work, you take up some time to switch back to work, to focus again. This is the context-switching time. This loss of focus reflects on your productivity. You are able to finish less amount of work because of all these distractions.
Well, you are probably spending more than 1/3 of your awake time on your mobile phone. This means that you must be doing something really important there, right? Something super important that if you miss will cost you a fortune.
In 90% of the cases, this is not true. Now imagine spending 1/3 of your day on something that does not improve you.
It does not end here
This is bad not just because you are spending a lot of your time here getting distracted from your actual work. This is worse because it is making you dumb.
Every time you start using your mobile phone instead of working or studying, you are wiring your brain to get even more distracted. You become whatever you practice
. Have you ever noticed that when you start working on something, as soon as you encounter something tough you start using your mobile phone? Start reading a book, and within 5 minutes you start searching for your phone to read messages or see a meme or read the news.
The smartphone has rewired your brain to be unable to do difficult tasks.
Your brain releases a chemical called dopamine when it feels rewarded. The more random is the award, the more dopamine your brain releases thus getting you addicted. App developers employ this tactic to get you addicted to some actions on the app. Ever saw that when you hold and drag your screen down to refresh your feed on apps like Instagram, Gmail, Twitter, it takes a while to load and refreshes suddenly. This is the typical slot machine-like trick they employ for higher kicks of dopamine.