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Emily Rose Croucher - 03 Dec 2018
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Quite simply put, the brain just isn't designed to work on multiple tasks at one time. Yet how many different apps can you skip in and out and scroll through in a few minutes?

Have you got a phone? I Every once in a while I meet some one that doesn't. I'm in awe, I have to find out more, 'but how do you get in touch with people?' Are you on social media?' It is becoming unheard of and fascinating. Phones are necessary for work, to keep in touch. They get you from an A to B and tell you the news or translate for you, they are inspiring but also addictive. Finding a balance is now more then ever before - an absolute must.

I got a phone later then some of my friends, in my teens in the early 2000's. I proudly kept my bricks and pieces till they broke. I used to prize myself in barely using them and remember that feeling of not 'checking in' with a nostalgic feeling now. Smartphones were around for a while but I resisted them. The furthest I have got so far is a Fairphone - which came out a few years ago - an ethical phone - though it is no where near the specs of some of the incredible phones on the market, it does the job. I finally get why everyone is so obsessed. I literally never leave it anywhere now, except when I consciously make myself. 'She says as she checks her phone.' Honestly, I have to consciously put it to the side. What has happened to me? A girl that used to leave it for days, that didn't have the internet on it till a few years ago, found scrolling in the middle of the street.

This unconscious behaviour is when I know I have to take back control and get back the balance. I've turned off my notifications, I have set times when I check social media. I put it on aeroplane mode before sleep, and in the day for no distractions too. Sometimes early on in the evening I 'check out' I try not to look at it first thing - as I am self employed - I get on with some pre planned tasks and morning rituals. I have a blue light filter on it if I do have to use it in the evening - this is better for your sleep. When I am with friends I leave it in my bag unless I need to check it - but if I look around, I am sometimes the only one doing this, and without consciously realising I've joined in, and the whole room has a screen.

On average a recent study showed that some people look at their phone up to 80 times a day. What would be better? Just a solid bit of time on it rather then a sporadic few moments. Well - this ties in nicely to the idea of monotasking - something I'm trying hard to suss out - just one thing at a time. Finish the task until it is done, or consciously flow to the tasks necessary in flow state - another incredible skill to adopt. No looking at phone, wondering off, or starting something else. Instead block out time in your day for your projects - the to-do list will go on for ever, you will never get everything done - so prioritise, get the most important things done for the most fulfilling day of less distractions from the unnecessary. Especially your phone.

One heavily cited study from Stanford University found that people who multitask are more easily distracted, less productive, score lower on tests for recalling information, and make more errors. Quite simply put, the brain just isn't designed to work on multiple tasks at one time. Yet how many different apps can you skip in and out and scroll through in a few minutes? So I welcome my new fascination with monotasking and flowstate. Coming from a person who has multi tasked most of her life, let's do this. Let's cut down on the errors, get the productivity souring, the creativity pouring. And the worst offender? The phone, staring up at you, telling you your steps, reminding you of the extra like you got on that delicious lunch you posted earlier on instagram.

A recent article in the Guardian describes Apple on its 10 year anniversary as a 'nurtured widespread, crippling addiction.' Psychology Today describes the addictive neurotransmitter dopamine as 'seeking information in an endless loop.'  Do you want another reason: it can take 15 minutes to get back to the flow of your work every time you distract yourself with a cat meme on instagram stories. So I consciously advise you and myself to have a set time to a conscious flow - untag what doesn't serve you, unfollow until you feed is just what you desire. I love the internet and my easy access phone for this - inspiration at our finger tips - but using it wisely is an Art to be Mastered! Organise it, utalise it, be in control of it. I'm still learning. What's your top tip?

2 Comments

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Kimm Fearnley

Mindfulness is what you are describing here. Being mindful of listening, eating, tasking. Giving our full attention toon to whatever we are engaged in. . . Easier said than done. X

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kirsty hawkshaw

Great post Emily,

I have also been weaning myself off this damned “all seeing eye” which is what a smart phone is. I have been questioning so many things lately relating to the amount of radiation and emf frequencies we are bombarding ourselves with. I rarely take my phone out with me now. Have it on airplane mode and WiFi off when not using it, and have installed an old skool landline with free weekend calls. If I want a long chat with a friend now I save it for the weekend and use the landline.

These gadgets affect our health on a cellular level I can feel it. Also I’ve realised I don’t want or need so many friends anymore because it’s jusr not sustainable and I would rather have less friends and more quality time with the few I really connect with face to face.

Being unpopular next year is my New Years resolution 😂

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