Hack Your Habits for a Balanced Digital Diet

First, a Quick Recap on Habits

One of the main takeaways from Atomic Habits is that habits, good or bad, are essentially neurological feedback loops. For any given habit, a cue triggers a craving that motivates a response to get a reward. For example, in the case of social media: a notification on my phone (cue) reminds me of whatever warm fuzzy feeling I get from a like or retweet (craving) and causes me to open an app (response) so that i can feel that warm fuzzy feeling (reward).

Source: https://jamesclear.com/habit-triggers

Curb the Cue: Nix Your Notifications

John Oliver had a delightful segment about push notifications and he nails it. What started out as a really nifty feature has devolved into a way for thirsty corporations desperate for clicks to trick you into unlocking your phone and interacting with their product to sell you things you probably don’t need. It’s time to stand up to those apps and say “no, not today.”

Rein in Your Response: Anchor Your Apps

I’ve been off of Facebook for about 2 years now, but I’m not here to tell you to #DeleteFacebook (you totally should though) or any other social media service for that matter. There’s a nice middle ground to keep your digital addictions in check, and it targets your response to the craving.

Establish a No Phone Zone

Remember the example I mentioned about the fridge in the kitchen? Well if you wanted to break that habit of mindlessly opening the refrigerator over and over again, one way of doing it is by straight up removing it from the kitchen. Boom, problem solved. That strategy isn’t very practical for refrigerators but works great for phones.

Revisit and Revise

So these are just three strategies you can try out to keep your digital diet in check. They’re not perfect and there are tons more. Some days you’ll look back and shake your head at the 2 hours you spent on Reddit between the 3 hours you scrolled on Facebook. Then maybe you’ll tweet about it. That’s fine.

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Roger Martinez

Roger Martinez

Developer Advocate for Google Cloud. Opinions are my own.