Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina is a coach, TEDx and public speaker, and author of Homo Distractus. She is the founder of Consciously Digital,
Below is the full text of her TEDx Talk titled “Could you live without a smartphone?” at TEDxWandsworth conference.
This sculpture by Sophie Ryder in the UK seat of Salisbury had to be moved, because people busy texting on their mobile phones kept bumping their heads into it.
Does it happen to you to text, phone, check your Facebook timeline or maybe catch a Pokémon while you’re walking? And who does that?
How many of these times do you actually have to go on line?
Well, we check our devices, about 221 times per day according to Tecmark, or about every 4.3 minutes of the time we don’t sleep.
What is going on?
Well, we live in the economy that is based on distraction. The more Internet pages you browse through, the more advertising an Internet company can show you, and so the more money they make.
Their success metrics are based around how much time you spent using their app, or you were on their website, not on how productive or focused you are.
Two years ago, around the same time of the year, I decided to give up my smartphone, and replace it with a very basic no Internet phone.
At the time, I was working in a senior position in digital marketing industry, which means that I was connected pretty much 24/7.
I slept with my phone, and I kept checking it all the time, and even felt it vibrating in my pockets when I didn’t have any pockets.
Giving up my smartphone was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. And today, I want to share with you my key learnings from the journey of taking back control over my time and my life.
But, before we do that, I want to give you a little challenge.
Given that we check our devices about every 4.3 minutes, this means that you will feel an urge to check your device three or four times during my talk.
So, I want to challenge you to resist this urge and count how many times you will succeed in doing that.
So, Lesson No. 1: You are more addicted to your device than you think.
But you’re also much more resourceful.
Now, why can’t we go for 5 minutes without our devices?
A U.S. psychologist, David Greenfield, says the Internet is like a slot machine: you never know what you’re going to find inside. And this variability of the reward releases dopamine, the neurohormone of pleasure and anticipation of the reward.
The problem with dopamine is that excessive stimulation of your brain that is caused by dopamine creates addiction.
This is exactly how drugs work. They first make you feel excited, but then you have to go back and take a new dose, to have the same feeling.
So devices use the same principles. You never know what you’re going to expect in your mailbox or on social media, right?
One day you get a “Like” and then the next day 50 “Likes.” Bam! Dopamine releases. You feel great!
But then the excitement fades pretty quickly, and you need to go back to your device to feel good again.
Technology is purposefully designed the way to make you use it over and over again.
We also feel dependent on our gadgets, because we have outsourced too many important functions to them.