A thumb rule for checking the phone

The smartphone is the greatest interrupter of the 21st century.

Each notification is a dopamine hit, and each reward modifies our behaviour. We are but Pavlovian dogs, responding to these rewards.

Here’s the thumb rule – is responding to your phone at any given moment more important than what you are currently doing?

The key word here is important, not urgent. Anything that comes through as a notification brings with it a sense of urgency, but no real importance.

There are perhaps no notifications more important than being present in that family dinner conversation. Or being present in that engaging lecture. Or being present to that important presentation we are preparing. Or merely being present to the world around us. If we find a certain application causing us to break that rule above several times, we are better off uninstalling it.

Our smartphones are merely gateways. The question is – who is utilizing whom? Are we utilizing the internet to enhance our lives with its information? Or do the internet overlords, Facebook, Google, Snapchat and co., utilize us to enhance their profitability?

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