How often do you check email every day? How many times an hour? What about Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat or whatever favourite app you have on your device or computer? It’s all pretty addicting right.

I mean, someone might be sending you a message or photo that will change your life. Not likely. The way we respond to our devices certainly seems like we are hoping for some divine message. Are we addicted to our devices?

Mike Vardy is a productivity specialist and he feels pretty strongly that we need to manage our email or it will manage us. He has ideas about how to do things differently so that we can be more productive rather than just being busy. I created this sketchnote from a presentation Mike did recently at a meeting. I think I’m addicted to doing sketchnotes but that’s another story.

I’ve recently started doing some work for Jordan Bower a strategic storyteller. He provided me with information to understand his perspective, so I can translate his ideas and services into visual graphics. He sent along this article about Tristen Harris and I must admit I was a bit floored by the concept that apps are designed to exploit our psychological vulnerabilities. It’s from The Atlantic magazine and is a fairly long read but definitely worth it. 

Have you ever considered the fact that the majority of the devices and software programs that are used world wide, have been developed by white males between the ages of 25 – 35 who live near San Francisco? Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against guys in this demographic but the idea that this small group of individuals has created many of the tools that I am now addicted to, well quite frankly it rocks me to my core.

Tristan Harris - Addicted to Your iPhone? You’re Not Alone - The Atlantic copyTristan Harris has started an advocacy group called Time Well Spent. The manifesto on his home page is brilliant and includes; We believe in a new kind of economy that’s built to help us spend time well, where products compete to help us live by our values.  I’m in.

I must admit to be pretty obsessed at times with email. Now I feel like I’m standing up at an AA meeting when I say “Hello my name is Deborah and there are days that I check email 50 times”. Seriously concerning, at times it does feels out of my control. Is it the design of the system? Will productivity techniques help? Perhaps. Can’t hurt at this pont in the twelve step program.

I mentioned recently that one of my favorite things to keep me productive is an afternoon power nap. My phone is nowhere near me when I nap and I rarely take my phone when I go for a walk. If I haven’t replied to your email that may be where I am. These are some of the boundaries I’ve set up to help with my addiction. Do you have any boundaries?

Two years ago I went on a sailing tour of  Haida Gwaii which was amazing on so many levels. Having that complete disconnect from the www was definitely a big part of the experience. It’s critical for us as a species to disconnect, to find places where you can just be alone or with friends, places where we can have real conversations without distractions.

Are you addicted to your device? Do you have a device free zone? I’d love to know. Let’s take back control of our lives and align our use with our values.

Oh yeah and if you have a presentation or story that you want to share using visual graphics such as sketchnotes, email me and be a part of feeding that addiction of mine.

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