Technology Addiction

Technology Addiction

If you meet me before, you know I love sweets. Chocolates, gummy bears, cakes, cookies. Yum. I could be sitting working on a blogpost or at work and all a sudden get a constant craving. Some days I’d give in. Go out of my way to get something sweet. Other days, I’d have some willpower and be able to resist. Over the years, I’ve been able to get better at resisting the sugar fiend inside me.

I can still feel it though, deep inside. Even now, I’d love some toffee or some hot chocolate. Now imagine instead, my phone was vibrating. Of course, I’d pick it up. A text message. Let me do a quick reply. Oh, Instagram notification. Who posted something? And so on. All a sudden I’ve lost track of time and it’s an hour later.

Worse yet, at least with my sweet cravings, I’ll know that I should stop and not eat the whole box. With my phone or laptop the various notifications, beeps, vibrations are almost endless. It even sometimes feels productive. Let me reply to this email. Oh, a new article on my favorite blog, well that’s a productive use of my time. Let me read that too.

It’s late afternoon and I haven’t gotten a single thing done on my to-do list. No emails to reply to though! Yep, and all those new blog posts, read! In a sense, technology is worse than sugar. At least after the first few bites of anything sweet, I realize I shouldn’t be eating too much and am usually able to stop. My use of technology could be endless and that guilt is rarely there. I’m not usually doing anything that unproductive. There’s usually some benefit in my interaction with technology.

But that’s the problem, there’s no negative feedback loop. If anything, there’s a small positive feedback loop. I’m getting stuff done. And I keep going. But that blog post I wanted to write sits there as a blank word doc. I’ve let the world make my schedule instead of sticking to what I want to have done. I’ve been able to re-wire my brain a bit with my technology use. Before I sit down on my laptop or phone, I try to think of what I need to do with using it. I turn on do not disturb.

I try to be a little more intentional with my time. Rarely will an email or text need a reply right away. I’ve actually found that people are appreciative of this: if I respond right away then they feel the need to as well. I changed the ringtone for a handful of people in my phone so that it rings even on do not disturb. My wife. My parents. Just in case. I’ll send a quick text saying I’m busy though and ask if I can call them back in a bit.

Like with sweets, I’ll put my phone a little further away. Out of arm’s reach. This helps me resist the urge to grab it when there’s a second of downtime. I just got an email. It can wait. Let me finish this post.