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Why can't we go for 5 minutes without checking our device?

Updated: Mar 6, 2019

I went to a talk last week titled "Does My Brain Need a Digital Detox?" by Anastasia Dedyukhina Founder of Consciously Digital™, book author, coach, start-up mentor and blogger at Huffington Post who gave up her smartphone and replaced it with a no internet Nokia phone.

This is what I came away with in brief......

Firstly did you know its estimated that we look at our devices every 4 to 10 minutes when we're not sleeping?

Steve Jobs never let his children use iPads or phones because he knew how addictive they were.

Did you also know 70% of emails are replied to within 6 seconds?


So why can't we go for 5 minutes without checking our device?

US Phycologist David Greenfield said the internet is like a slot machine, you never know what your going to find inside. This releases dopamine the neurohormone for pleasure and anticipation. The problem with it in excess amounts is that it starts to create addiction, similarly to how drugs work.

The first hit you feel excited and great but then it slowly fizzles out so you have to go back to your device to feel great again.

There is a school at Silicon Valley on persuasive design.

Technology is designed to make you use it over and over again. We are feeling more and more dependant on our gadgets because as Anastasia said we have out sourced too many important functions to them e.g sense of direction, memories of events and space etc.

Our brains are lazy so when we repeat a certain action it starts organising our neurons into chains so thats its easier to pass the information through the chains. This makes our behaviour become unconscious and automatic. This is what notifications do, they prompt you to come back to your device over and over again until your behaviour becomes totally unconscious. Does this mean we are allowing our devices to control us? Once these chains are made it takes effort to undo them.

Do not multi task online.

Don't switch between different tabs and devices. A Stanford experiment proves the more we multi task the worse we become at it. Have you ever thought why the most expensive areas in cities are usually the quietest or why when you walk into business lounges there is hardly any sound, music or advertising? Why is silence valued so high? It's because it is only in silence that our brain gets the opportunity to process information. We can't be creative if we are overwhelmed when we go online because our brain is simply not good at multi tasking.

Sex and dopamine.

33% of healthy men are having erectile dysfunction due to online porn. Online they can get their dopamine kicks for hours - there is no end. Problem is after a while they become used to it so they have to find more dopamine kicks so they start to watch more specialised, darker porn which just isn't reality. So their beautiful girlfriend could be lying naked next to them but its just not doing it for them anymore. It's the same with girls too. Anastasia Dedyukhina highly recommended quitting porn altogether to save sex lives.

Daniel Craig said the secret to his marriage was banning technology from the bedroom. Studies show couples who keep phones and iPads in their bedroom at night have little to no sex than couples who keep them outside the bedroom and use alarm clocks because they would rather scroll before bed.

Sculpture by Sophie Ryder had to be moved because people kept walking into it on their phones.

Start rewiring the brain.

(They say it takes 21 days to form a habit but neuroscientists are actually saying 2.5 months.)

Disable ALL notifications.

Try to get different dopamine hits, replace it with things that make you forget your phone like reading a book, cooking, walking or being in a social situation. Don't always feel like you have to post - live in the moment.

Reward yourself with technology.

Delay reacting to messages/calls/emails. Our brains are not wired like computers it’s unnatural to reply so quickly.

Use an app blocker when you're working (stayfocused, self control, freedom and focusON.)

Download newsfeed eradicator for Facebook. It's said on average we spend 50 minutes everyday scrolling Facebook. That's a day per month or just over 12 days per year that you could have been doing something else?

Never go online when you're tired because your frontal cortex stops working which means your not in control.

Keep your phone out your bedroom at night. Studies show from Harvard medical school that leaving your phone in your bedroom (even if its on aeroplane mode) is the equivalent in your brain of keeping your front door open meaning you're not falling into that crucial state of deep sleep.

Anastacia said she even sometimes disables wifi at night.

Clean up your mobile. Get rid of Facebook messenger and push your Instagram icon to the last page on your phone so its longer to get too.

When working keep your phone in a different room. There was a study done at Austin, Texas university where different groups of students were placed in different areas and rooms with their phones placed next to them or placed in their pockets or placed outside of the room. I bet you can guess which students did the best work.

Our devices are amazing tools but its just finding that balance with them and not letting them run you!

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