Technology addiction and the end of productivity

My sister says that each time we get a new text or email on our cell phone, the little ‘ding’ that signals its arrival causes the release of dopamine or serotonin or whatever chemical makes things pleasurable and addictive. So, being on our phones really is as addictive as, say, gambling can be.

And just the same as it is with gambling, in which coming close to winning can give you the same rush as actually winning, it doesn’t matter that YOU KNOW the text or email you just received is not likely to contain exciting news or even interesting information, you still get the rush. I don’t know if the dopamine or serotonin is released because we anticipate the social connection that can be provided by a text, post, email or tweet. But studies show our social ties are the most important contributor to our happiness.┬áThe question is, if we can gratify our need for social connection by texting, posting, tweeting and emailing all day, why do anything else?

Why go to the trouble of, say, creating something (a business, art, etc.), when creating is often hard, and texting, posting and emailing is easy?

One answer is because creating stuff offers its own rewards. And doing hard things (like creating stuff) is usually, ultimately, more rewarding than doing easy things (like surfing the Net). As for the social interactions we have online, many of them are arguably not as rewarding as the social interactions we have or could be having in person.

I’m a writer, I work at home, and I don’t have a boss. In other words, I can be online all day. And I am. I’m totally addicted. And it’s making me miserable. (I want the social interactions I get online, but I want to enjoy them quickly and then get offline, so that I can do or make something.) I should ask for help, but like a true addict, I don’t want to. I think I can beat this on my own. (Haha.) I am now going to try to limit my time online. Starting tomorrow. (Haha.)

Who’s with me? Anyone?

4 Replies to “Technology addiction and the end of productivity”

  1. Have you seen (my fave comic) Louis CK’s viral explanation of why he won’t give his daughters cell phones?
    This post reminds me of what he touches on – that we are so addicted to that connection – that it’s hard to walk away.
    As you know, I am a recovering drug addict, and I gotta say, the internet addiction is real. The same dopamine triggers are alive and surfing the World Wide Web.
    So – yes! I’m with you!
    Let’s log off and CREATE!

    ps: Here’s the Louis CK clip. It’s a MUST WATCH!

    1. Saw this and thought his remark about how it’s human to be sad sometimes, and sometimes you just have to ‘sit in that sadness,’ (or something to that effect), was great. Btw, did you see the Abraham Lincoln sketch of his show, on SNL? So good!!

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