Are you a digital addict? 4 warning signs
To help me identify the 4 values for the Offline Manifesto, I wanted to list the habits that myself and most digital addicts around me have. If you recognize some of the things you do on a daily basis, maybe it’s a sign that you might be a digital addict.
1. You are often distracted by notifications and can’t hold a conversation without looking at your phone
In your personal and professional life, when you talk to others it’s common to see someone just phase out and look at their screen in a middle of a conversation. Some of you might ignore it or even worse accept it. It’s now being the norm and once you notice it, you can’t ignore it. Maybe one day looking at your phone without excusing yourself will be seen as impolite as it was back in the days. You can’t change the way people behave but you can change the way you do.
Value #1: If you want to fully experience life, you need to prioritize real life interactions over online distractions.
2. You plan ahead ‘shareable’ activities
You’ve seen it in your news feed, people like to share how amazing their lives are. They share pictures of their trips, their meals, their dogs, their new cars, their girlfriends and whatever they think might make their lives look awesome. Some people even select activities based on the potential ‘like’ amount they might get.
I know this one is ironic as I’m blogging about my own little journey detoxing from the online world. But I’m doing it because it forces me to commit to these two goals: to start writing and to do a digital detox. I’m not doing this to make money or to be famous.
You need to do things that are good for you, that bring happiness to your life or make you grow. Then it’s your choice if you want to share it but it shouldn’t be the main goal or preventing you to fully live the moment.
Value #2: If you want to grow, you need to prioritize meaningful life changing experiences over shareable anecdotes.
3. You don’t have the time to follow your dreams but waste hours online daily
Get me rich! Get me famous! Get me a cheeseburger! Only one of those three can be done quickly and effortless.
In our society it seems like people forget that success comes to those who work hard and/or smart. Everything looks so simple when you listen to self-made millionaire YouTube videos. People who made it took the time to commit to their art/skill. If it was that easy to succeed, everyone would do it.
The time needed to follow your dreams might look impossible at first. But wait! You can start by reducing the time you spent binge watching Netflix or looking at your Facebook feed and use it to start working on the project you always wanted to start. One hour a day might make a big difference and bring you a few steps toward your objectives.
Value #3: If you want to reach your goals, invest your time in long term commitment over quick time wasters.
4. You glorify digital multitasking and are proud of your ability to do multiple things at once
At work and even in their personal life, people are lacking time to do everything they must/want to do. So instead of prioritizing and saying no, they jump to the simple solution: Multitasking.
Multitasking can result in time wasted due to context switching and can increase the amount of errors due to a lack of attention. Studies have shown that it is impossible to focus on more than one task at a time, so why do we lie to ourselves.
Here are some lies we tell ourselves:
- I’m more efficient when I multitask.
- Better doing other work in this boring meeting that just leave or focus on what’s going on.
- Better answer to the latest email in my inbox that working on my real priorities.
- I’ll check my emails while I wait for the red light to turn green.
- I’ll send this text to my colleague while my kids are taking their baths.
By doing this you’re prone to errors, you can miss important information in meetings or you can die (email + driving).
By focusing on one thing at the time you’ll be more efficient and you’ll be able to better evaluate your own time capacity and say no to things.
Value #4: If you want to work on the right things efficiently, value deep work over inefficient multitasking.
4 Values to guide digital addicts
Based on those 4 bad habits that digital addicts have, I crafted the 4 values for the Offline Manifesto:
- Real life interactions over online distractions
- Meaningful life changing experiences over shareable anecdotes
- Long term commitment over quick time wasters
- Deep work focus over inefficient multitasking