30 Day 9-To-9 iPhone Challenge

That’s it; I’ve had enough of looking at my iPhone.

Email, Instagram, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter. It’s become such an unconscious routine that I’m starting to wonder what on earth I’m looking for.

I know I’m not the only one but there has to be an explanation for why we’re all becoming slaves to these digital rituals that have managed to sneak into every quiet moment.

In “Willpower,” a book by Kelly McGonigal, she states that dopamine is to blame for our complusive digital behaviors.

“Because we know there’s a chance we’ll have a new message, or because the very next YouTube video may be the one that makes us laugh, we keep hitting refresh, clicking the next link and checking our devices compulsively.” – Kelly McGonigal

A friend recently told me that he has started feeling depressed by his constant yet uncontrollable need for online consumption yet it makes complete sense when we think about it neurologically:

  1. Our reward system becomes excited by what we may see / are missing on social media (dopamine is released)
  2. We relieve it by taking a look (digital ritual)
  3. It doesn’t meet our expectation and we end up feeling guilty for wasting time (depression).

Just like a gambler who almost hit the jackpot on the slot machine, we keep telling ourselves that maybe next time we’ll get that big win (so we repeat the behavior).

“The definitive Internet act of our times is a perfect metaphor for the promise of reward: we search.” – Kelly McGonigal

There is only one way we can take back control and that’s by becoming more aware of when and why we’re ritualising. I often find myself digitally ritualising first thing in the morning, between tasks, traveling and late at night and often justify it by telling myself it’s my way of being productive or staying “on top of things” but in all honesty it can be done once or twice a day and not whilst I’m in bed with my partner.

“We live in a world of technology, advertisements and twenty-four-hour opportunities that leave us always wanting and rarely satisfied.” – Kelly McGonigal

I’m not a big fan of New Years Resolutions but a habit change I’ll be trying out this month is to put down my iPhone and blocking all social media and online content before 9am and after 9pm (switching to airplane mode).

If like me, you’re fed up with your own obsessive digital rituals and know you could be using that time more wisely being present with your partner, reading or actually taking that all important time for silence (meditation / prayer) then please join me on the 30 Day 9-To-9 iPhone Challenge!

Do you have a digital ritual? Post it below and then tell me how you’d rather be spending that time?