I just read Elle Kaplan’s article, “How to Hack Your Brain for Insane Focus and Productivity, According to Harvard Research”. The article was posted on The Mission, no surprise it’s a spin-off of The Medium. In it, she outlines some helpful methods to help us maintain focus amongst a sea of digital distractions. I couldn’t help taking notice of this quote in regard to email alerts and other notifications, “Seeing a notification releases dopamine in our brain, causing us to be addicted to these digital signals”. This resonated with me as I recently started wearing a Garmin Vivoactive HR+ fitness/heart rate monitor. Using Bluetooth it will pair with your phone and vibrate to alert you to incoming emails, texts, and phone calls. I really need to shut that feature off. It’s gotten so bad that I feel phantom vibrations even when I’m not wearing the watch. Talk about Pavlovian responses.
The graduate program I’m in is highly focused on digital technologies, so I’m online all the time, and highly distracted. I’ll be finished this August, and my hope is that I can get back to sitting on my porch, reading a good (paper based) book, taking off my watch and leaving the phone in the house. I think maybe the phantom buzzings on my wrist might start to subside.