Technology has taken control of our lives. I see myself reaching out for my cell phone all the time, sometimes even when I am driving (scary! And yes I am guilty too). I am guilty of reaching out for my phone, when I am having dinner with family (not the example I want to set my kids).
I keep checking Facebook, for no apparent reason, I tend to drop into it without being conscious and then get lost in the feed. This kills productivity and more importantly prevents us from truly focusing on the things that matter. What can we do to become conscious of these habit and change them?
Here are experiments I’ve done recently and the results on my behavior ( as it relates to Facebook):
- I’ve intentionally tuned (you can say sabotaged) my Facebook feed to get only updates from people or causes I truly care about. If someone likes a cat video .. I don’t care. This made it more useful to quickly catchup with things I care about when I checked Facebook.
- I have removed most social apps from my mobile phone — it makes it tougher to get to Facebook. i.e., adding a extra degree of separation between myself and social media.
- I’ve started to logout of Facebook on Desktop whenever I’m done. This means I need to login whenever I need to get back on it I.e,. adding an extra degree of separation.
Here is what happened :
- I became more conscious when the urge (trigger) of the ‘check Facebook’ habit kicked in.
- One extra degree of separation whether its reaching for the desktop or logging in, made it difficult for me to mindlessly fall into the habit.
- Reduced the noise on my Facebook feed and made it less likely that I got lost in it.
Though I’ve used Facebook as a example, I’ve done similar experiments with email, phone usage and other technology habits.
An ‘extra degree of separation’ is all we need to be more conscious of a habit and enable us to break it.