Digital addictions—the road to recovery is a vitally important topic. And YES I am putting it out there! Those who know me (or see me online) are smiling.
There is a new term in town coined by American media theorist and author Douglas Rushkoff, Digiphrenia: Digitally induced mental chaos, and we will probably be hearing a lot more of it in the days to come:
Unfortunately I know this all to well. In recent months I have noticed my addiction to checking my phone…did I miss a text? How about an email? What is happening on Facebook? Did anyone “Like” my post? In any spare moment I have found myself defaulting to my digital addictions. Have you ever done that? You are nodding your head aren’t you?
As a culture we are all hooked on fear-of-missing-out-syndrome. Worried if we miss some vital piece of information we will get left behind. We are missing out… on real life! We need to declare war on our digital addictions and start the road to recovery. Just like any other addiction, admitting it is the first phase of the process.
At a recent training with Darren Hardy, author, entrepreneur, publisher of SUCCESS magazine, he shined the light on how ridiculous we have become as a nation by being addicted to our digital devices. He spent the first 2 hours revealing the major cause of unachieved potential—digital addictions!
Digital addictions cause information overload which leads to overwhelm which then leads to mental paralysis.
For me the message could not have come at a better time. My daughter is young enough now that she may never remember her mom was hooked on her iPhone. This will not be an easy process but I am committed to breaking some very bad habits.
There is a time and a place for emails, texting, social media, BLOGS…I still plan on enjoying these things, just in right proportion. It certainly won’t be when I am at a stop light, waiting in line at the grocery store, at the dinner table at home, or in a restaurant or meeting.
Being present in my life and creating a life that is productive and successful is more important to me than being in the center of all communications. Many of which have nothing to do with my core values or goals in life. Addictions in any form will suck the life right out of you.
It is not too late. We can overcome this nasty habit of obsessively responding immediately to every text, post, or email. It might be sad to recognize we are not the center of the digital universe—but we can recover.
What is the road to recovery? Here are a few ideas that I have started working on…again consistency is the key.
1) Assess the full situation, determine where you can make the biggest changes…make a decision to change.
2) Make it difficult to get to the apps on your phone. We are creatures of habit and just the repositioning of the email app can limit speedy access.
3) Set a schedule to check Facebook and emails—and stick to it!
4) Leave your phone in another room when having dinner or family time (make it difficult to fail).
5) Put your phone in the trunk or glove box when you get into the car.
6) Make a house rule of no cell phones in the bedrooms.
7) Remember that people can wait…the world will not end without us.
Many of us are building businesses online and we are certainly grateful to have connections at our finger tips. But if we are really honest with ourselves, we can surely recognize how easy it is to become overly concerned with what other people are doing or thinking, and whether or not they “Like” what we are doing. Our real lives deserve our real participation and full attention.
This list can continue. Please share some of your suggestions for overcoming digital addictions—the road to recovery may be a long one, but if we do not begin to address this critical issue we are in for a world of trouble.
Be present in your real life…
just for the health of it!