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What follows is an insightful article from Mr. Schwartz with good...

What follows is an insightful article from Mr. Schwartz with good suggestions at the end. I particularly like the idea of an afternoon nap, even if my schedule won't allow for it.

Battling Your Online Addiction

How much time do you spend each day responding to email, checking Facebook, sending and reading Tweets, aimlessly surfing your favorite websites and buying things you don't need? How much time, in other words, do you spend doing stuff online that doesn't add much value in your life, or in anyone else's?

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Too much, I'm going to guess.

I let it happen to me when I woke up Sunday morning, got on my laptop and started reading theNew York Times. Ninety minutes later, I was still surfing from one bookmarked website to the next, vaguely aware that there we're other things I wanted to do and that none of what I was taking in was very nourishing. And yet I remained narcotically glued to that screen a baby bird with it's mouth open, forever eager to be fed.

"There are few things ever dreamed of, smoked or injected that have as addictive an effect on our brains as technology," writes Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal in her terrific bookThe Willpower Instinct.

"The definitive Internet act of our times," she adds, "is a perfect metaphor for the promise of reward. We search. And we search. And we search some more ... clicking that mouse ... looking for the elusive reward that will finally feel like enough."

Or, as Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon put it way back in 1978: "A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention." And retention. Taking in endless bits and bytes of information is akin to pouring water into a glass already full in this case our severely limited working memory.

A growing body of research suggests that up to 95 percent of our behaviors occur on automatic pilot, out of habit or in reaction to an external demand or stimulus. We spend a crazily disproportionate amount of time seeking the next source of instant gratification, rather than pursuing the more challenging goals that ultimately deliver more long-term value and greater satisfaction.

It's not about summoning the strength to say "no." Each time we intentionally forgo something desirable, we deplete our already limited reservoir of will and discipline. When was the last time you resisted the seductive ping of an incoming email?

So how, then, to withstand this Pavlovian pull? And how, in turn, to take back control of your attention, so you can put it to better and richer use?

A few suggestions:

1. Lead yourself not into temptation.Instead, consciously choose times to turn off your technology entirely. The best time of all is at the start of your day, when you've typically got the most energy. Specifically, that's the best time to take on your most important and challenging tasks, without interruption, for anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.

2. Carry a notebook with you throughout your workday.Download any ideas that come to you as quickly as possible not just to ensure you'll remember them, but also to clear space in your working memory for whatever comes at you next. Alternatively, type the ideas into a memo pad on your smart phone.

3. Between meetings and obligations, take some time to breathe deeply in through your nose to a count of three, out through your mouth to a count of six. In as little as one minute, you can completely clear your bloodstream of the stress hormone cortisol. You'll feel calmer, and you'll be better able to focus.

4. Take a 15- to 20-minute nap between 1 and 4 p.m. especially on days when you've not gotten sufficient sleep and you find yourself dragging. Even a very short nap can dramatically increase your alertness and your productivity over the subsequent several hours. (This assumes, of course, than you can get your boss on board. Make the case that it'll improve your productivity.)

5. Designate and put in your calendar specific times each week to think reflectively, creatively, and/or strategically.Get up from your desk and take a walk outside, or find a comfortable, relaxing place to hang out. Leave your smart phone at your desk. The idea is to give the verbal left hemisphere of your brain a rest from it's usual overload and to rely instead during these periods on the more visual, imaginative right hemisphere of your brain. You'll know you're doing the right thing if you lose track of time.

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Posted in Dentistry Post Date 09/13/2023






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