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Distractions and Social Media

I was fine when I was younger when it came to focus and “deep work”. What changed?

Everyone is looking for an answer Everyone that doesn’t feel like they are doing something with their life goes to YouTube or Google and searches something self-help-y like “What do millionaires do in their day?”. That becomes a vicious cycle of searching terms that are extremely close to that one.

The echo chamber of the internet

Nowadays, since technology is being used more to sell you shit and less to inform you like Encyclopedias (remember those?) the algorithms are now looking at what you are searching for and are returning not only what you are looking for, but things that “might also interest you”. Now you are getting deeper into keeping your eyeballs on the that webpage watching things you are guzzling with your brain. What most people don’t realize at this point: you’re being duped.

The people trying to change the systems they helped build

There are many people that helped build the platforms of the social media landscape that who are now speaking out about how bad of an addiction it is since we have zero willpower for moderation when it comes to scrolling.

Tristan Harris is one of those people. You can find his website and more information about the awareness he’s wanting to do about this problem here.

The turning point in my life where I felt my productivity being sucked away

I worked for a consulting company, Hashrocket, in Jacksonville, FL. It was still a brand new company around the time the iPhone came out. I remember the day before all of us were figuring out where to get our hands on one. As for me, I wasn’t really wanting one since they were expensive and I didn’t really care about having a small computer in my hand. Somehow though, working in a room of ten other geeks that all wanted one, I felt pressure and my first taste of “keeping up with the Joneses’

I bought an iPhone that day and that is the exact moment in my life that my focus, distraction, and productivity took a turn for the worse.

Just because people say its great does not mean that it is

I love technology. I grew up with it. When I see platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube though, they are extremely basic as a concept, and also extremely heavy on the backend, the part you don’t see, because they serve so much data to so many people daily.

The fallacy though, is we think it’s so great. These platforms are good, but I don’t think they’re great. If you could only watch one YouTube video a day, what would it be? You would probably look through the titles, read the descriptions, and then pick one to watch for the day.

But we won’t do that, it’s too hard.

How can you improve your life when so many videos, status posts, and photo memes are out there?

The only way I know how is to turn all of it off. You don’t have to block the websites, just don’t go to them. Or, don’t get sucked into watching a video that you think might help you. YouTube and video-related websites are not the only culprits. There are plenty of websites out there that want to tell you how to fix your problem, somehow though, you always read another article they “suggest”.

The best way to get what you want is to practice what always works: back to the basics.

Back to the basics

What did you do when you woke up as a 10 year old? You were excited to wake up and ride your bike so go ride your bike in the morning. Don’t ride your bike to workout or exercise, go ride it around a new route to learn a new section of your neighborhood, or better yet, just to ride before you go off to school for the day (work) just like you would if you were 10 years old again.

What about phone calls and cellphones and all that jazz? Would our ten year-old self really be excited to wake up and check text messages or respond to emails? Fuck no. Then why do we do it?

Save that shit for later, go play, always be playing. (And by play, I mean whatever you want, if you want to travel, go drive two hours and turn around, thats OK, you don’t have to jump on a plane to get this)