Recently I just watched a Ted Talk by the eloquent Manoush Zomorodi on the subject of boredom, attention and technology and how in our world we are losing our ability to think creatively or even think due to the fact that we fill all the gaps in our day with social media, emails, diarising and technology without even being conscious of it all the time. Manoush relayed the fact that humans 10 years ago used to shift focus at work every 3 minutes and today its every 45 seconds bringing the total task switching in a day to an appalling 566 times. Modern technological users check their email 76 x per day on average and the shorter a person sleeps the more likely they are to check Facebook.
So what’s the issue are we not getting more things done by multitasking? Well in one word NO – Dr Daniel Levitin, Neuroscientist tells us when we try to multitask on 4-5 different things what we really are doing is switching our focus 4-5 times which costs us energy and depletes our neural resources which is taxing for our brains. The other issue with never getting bored or lacking true focus on one thing is that we never really get the task done, we never really get into the teeth of it or allow creativity to flow. If we never allow ourselves to get bored or become creative what are we losing collectively as a society, what ideas, entrepreneurs, what forward thinkers that could solve our big issues, problems of society today.
How often do you check your phone everyday? Is it second nature for you to pick it up start scrolling without any intention or attention what you are doing? How often do you lose time and not even realise that you have been on it for 20 min or an hour? In Tristian Harris’s talk on how tech companies manipulate your attention he speaks from personal experience on the subject of ways to grab, control and direct your most precious resource – your attention. He quotes the CEO of netflicks when he says he was quoted saying my biggest competitors are YouTube, Facebook and SLEEP – yes sleep is a competitor. The average person nowadays will spend 2 YEARS yes 2 YEARS on Facebook. Antonio Garcia Marcia says if the product is FREE – then you are the product ie your attention.
Manoush endeavored to challenge people to pay attention to their inattention, directed them with a weekly bored to brilliant challenge a while back and here is what she found. Most people were actually aware that their smartphone, devices had a real control over their time and attention and that they really did want to address this issue. She devised a set of challenges to do every day for 1 week to make people aware of their actions from: Putting your phone in your pocket becoming aware of your need and fixation on pulling it out to check media, Delete the app that controls you one that you go to automatically and are not even aware of it. Do you have a routine on your phone do you scroll check email, FB, Instagram you know we all do it and then get sucked in for minutes or hours of scrolling and time without consciously choosing to do so?
She states that you should use your device as you CHOOSE if you have not decided the device will decide for you. So if you want to check your email then check your email and get off it then rather than allowing your past experience, past patterns to guide you and the technology to force you into the next thing. So often we are avoiding doing the real hard work, figuring out what you want, goals, aspirations and allowing ourselves to get bored to let creativity flow.
So, in conclusion take a break, stare out the window allow your mind to wander, be bored and let your brain have a break be productive, get the most out of your brain cause letting your brain wander – we find boredom can lead to brilliance.
Why not try a digital detox even for one day where you become aware of your habits, put that phone down, off, delete those apps and allow your brain to relax, wander and become bored.
This is an app to track the time you spend on your phone – its ironic I know but you have to start somewhere, become aware of your habits before real change can occur.
Try writing in a journal, reading a good old fashion book or just sitting meditating and getting bored it could just change your life and your MIND.
Eat, Move, Rest, Think, Connect – Thrive
Ted Talk: Manoush Zomorodi: Boredom leads to Brilliance
Ted Talk: Tristian Harris: The manipulative tricks tech companies use to capture your attention.
Dr Daniel Levitin: http://daniellevitin.com/publicpage/