August 09, 2019

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This blog post was originally published February 22, 2019. 

Think you might need a digital detox? You’re not alone. It’s becoming more and more of a trend to take time away from our online lives. Cal Newport author of “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” shares his approach to avoiding digital distraction and reclaiming time. He discusses how to be more intentional about how you use technology, and more aware about how technology uses you. We’ll discuss everything from the neuroscience of the human brain to how to do your own 30-day digital detox.

Three Takeaways:

  • We’re not as productive as we think we are - even just quickly checking your phone can lead to significant attention decline. This effect, called attention residue, can reduce your cognitive capacity. But not to fear, you can get your attention back by long-form reading, taking walks, and scheduling times when you want to use social media, instead of intermittently checking it throughout the day, according to Newport.
  • The digital world is able to hack our biology by appealing to our innate desire to connect. Tech can easily exploit our need to know what others think of us and tools, such as Facebook’s “like” button, can easily pull us deeper into the digital world.
  • Discover your inner digital minimalist by putting aside 30 days to delete everything from your phone. Then you can go about rebuilding your digital world with intentionality. This gives you the time to rethink your values, and decide how best to use your time each day.

More Reading:

  • Does a month-long digital hiatus seem too long to you? The New York Times took a look at the effects of a week-long digital detox.
  • Cal Newport previously talked to us about the focus needed to get deep work done. You can listen to what he says about work productivity and attention here.
  • A pigeon brain reacts to rewards similarly to a human brain. The Smithsonian looks at how the psychologist B.F. Skinner altered the behavior of pigeons and other animals through a rewards-system.

digital, technology, Facebook, Sci and Tech, Cal Newport, Twitter

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