Are our smartphones making us stupid?
Maybe, according a new report from the University of Texas.
The study is called Brain Drain: The Mere Presence of One’s Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity. Researchers found someone’s ability to hold and process data improved enormously if their smartphone was in another room.
They asked participants to take a test to gauge attentional control and cognitive processes. Those who had their phones in a pocket or bag, or in a different room, outperformed those who had phones on the desk – even if they were turned off and face-down.
I think it’s to do with willpower. We only have a limited amount of willpower, and using it saps our energy. When we have to resist the siren call of the smartphone, we have less energy to focus on what we’re doing.
In June 2016, another study reported typical smartphone owners interact with their phones an average of 85 times per day: as soon as they wake up, just before going to sleep, and often in the middle of the night – plus throughout the day, of course.
So let me ask you this: how much time do you waste each day scrolling mindlessly through Facebook and Instagram? I only ask because I spend far too much time doing it, and then berate myself… and I know I’m not alone.
So some time ago, I changed my habits.
My phone no longer spends the night in the bedroom. It charges downstairs. I never even think about it first thing in the morning, let alone look at it.
Even better, it’s often lunchtime now before I go anywhere near my phone, because I made another change, too. I keep my phone in a different room to my office.
This small change to my habits has made a huge difference to my focus and attention, and my anxiety.
I don’t know about you, but mindlessly scrolling through social media isn’t just compelling, it makes me feel anxious. Guilty. On edge.
It’s an itch that needs to be scratched.
I’m doing a lot of work on my habits at the moment, and I’m feeling happier and more productive all the time.
Hopefully, this has given you a few ideas… and helped you break the addiction.
About the Author
Please do share any articles from this site in part or in full — as long as you leave all links intact, give credit to the author, and include a link to this website and the following bio. Vicky is a gin-quaffing, pole-dancing, trapeze-swinging copywriter who writes about the perils and joys of writing, velociraptor training, and running a small business. She writes this stuff on her websites vickyfraser.com and cookiesforbreakfast.co.uk. She’s the author of one book (with two more in utero) and teaches small business owners how to write copy that sells, and how to be more fecking interesting. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
PS If you want to read more about the Brain Drain study, read this article in Psychology Today.