Reducing Addiction: Technology

If I am stuck in a slump, I can spend about 8 hours a day on YouTube alone. If I install a game, I will play it continuously until I figure out the mechanics and conquered it.

YouTube seems to be a combination of the orienting response with the loneliness of my introverted lifestyle when I am extroverted by temperament. I go to books for the orienting response too, however I don’t stick to books because they just make me lonely.

Video games seem to be the feeling that I am actually making progress and winning at something.

At times, I feel like throwing my iPhones 6S into a river. I never had these problems before upgrading to it in late 2015. The iPhone 4 was too small and slow to be addictive.

This also doesn’t seem to be entirely my fault. Both Apple and Google gave keynotes this year where they talked about how consumers worldwide are feeling addicted to their devices and information services, as such iOS 12 and Android P will be introducing features to help ease this addiction for the mainstream.

That said, there are always things that can be done. What I have found that works best for me, things I need to remember are the following:

  1. Never get caught up on the momentary wins and loses, the opportunities remain the same.

  2. Each day, plan your most important task, and do that first. Before email, before social media, before youtube, before instant messengers, before anything else. That way your most productive time and your day’s attention well, becomes devoted to your most important task.

  3. For your first few tasks of the day, use a physical timer, for say 25 minutes, until you get into the flow. The physical timer is better than a virtual timer, as it follows you around devices.

  4. Focus on addressing the root causes of your Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. If you are lonely, look for events in your area, or do more video calls with people. It won’t solve things today, but it will solve them next month.

  5. Add your daily burn rate to your calendar. We often use our calendar for bills, say: Rent $600 on day 7 of each month. However, things like rent, groceries, phone, Spotify, and all the rest are expenses that we pay weekly or monthly, but yet we consume daily. As such, the expenses can elude us. Instead, add them all together, then divide by 30. And make it a daily notification of your burn rate. When you know each day costs you $50, you are inclined to spend it well.

Let’s open this up to other suggestions on removing technology addiction.

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I’m just going to add a note here as I don’t have the energy to dive too deeply: novelty is handled by the orienting reflex (OR). This description of brain activity is correlated with the using of brain resources (it must be, as all neural activity requires fuel- glutamatergic, serotonergic, adrengeric, etc.). The more novelty that you experience, the less your brain is capable of utilizing the correspondingly depleted resources for task management. The explosion of novelty on the internet is providing a playground for continuously depleted brains. There is no good answer to this yet other than dramatically reducing novel stimuli. Will come back to this later.


I find that meditation is really helpful. If I meditate in the morning, I don’t feel the need to go on youtube or anything else until noon.
if I meditate at noon again, I can go on working all day, or I know hat I will be social in the evening, even is it just talking to some friends on the phone.

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Here I am on the computer writing about technology addiction, hmm. Several practices have worked more or less for me. Get more into your body and out of your head. Take a physical action that breaks the addiction or compulsion state. Talk with other humans in person. Drop your psychological baggage, get help if needed or use the available resources to figure it out. Get clear about your goals and set your intention daily with a basic plan then work the smallest possible action, then the next and the next. Get a coach or accountability partner, keep track of your actions and progress at the beginning of the day, then at the end of the week. Join a group exercise class and get to know some people. Build positive habits that become mindless and then stack them. For example, walking meditation, lift weights with a podcast, clean the house with an audiobook, listen on 1.5x speed to get more info faster.

I’m passionate about improvement and love the first step, “just stop doing things that you know are wrong.”

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