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<editorsnote> Hi, I'm Jen Friel, and we here at TNTML examine the lives of nerds outside of the basements and into the social media, and dating world.  We have over 75 peeps that write about their life in real time. (Real nerds, real time, real deal.) Sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the stories!! </editorsnote>



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Entries in brian solis book (2)


#NerdsUnite: Down with the deconstruction of digital distraction 

This post is part of series based on the book LifeScale (non-affiliated link). 

As I said in the intro post, my buddy Brian Solis wrote a book about how to live a more creative, productive and happy life. As someone who wants to be creative, productive, and happy - I actually read it and now I'm implementing the steps! Yay self care!! 

It's creepy how well this song goes with this post ... 

I've heard first hand from friends that their companies use psychologists to "enhance the user experience and engagement," but I can't say it ever upset me - I believe that it is up to me to hold my own self accountable.

A year and some change ago, I caught myself "zoning out" in front of the TV and endlessly scrolling for hours on end on FB- yet received no "satisfaction" behind it.

This frustrated me because I receive satisfaction in reading (which I now claimed I didn't have any time to do)

Before I upgraded to my iPhone XS (which includes screen time tracking - more on that in a minute), I found myself spending up to three hours each evening just scrolling.

I personally don't experience FOMO, but to me, reading a digital comment, or sitting on FB messenger pings the part of my brain that meant I was being "social" for the evening - even though I wasn't getting the same satisfaction as actually having a conversation with someone or (equally enjoyable) spending time alone.

I was double dipping my digital and IRL life - and it wasn't working.  

Wanting to up my personal satisfaction index ... 

I deleted FB (and Messenger) from my phone.

It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. 

Now, I quickly check Instagram in the morning and at night, but look at my screen time stats ... 

Mind you, I've been working all day, but making that ONE CHANGE dramatically improved my not only overall satisfaction (which to me is quiet time), but also gave me time to do the things I actually WANTED to do WHICH MAKES ME FEEL ACCOMPLISHED ... ACCOMPLISHMENT LEADS TO BEING ABLE TO ZONE OUT ... WHICH WAS ALL I WAS AFTER IN THE FIRST PLACE!! 

I don't know. 

<page 26>: "Addictiveness is maximized when the rate of reward is most variable," says Former Google engineer Tristan Harris."

Software designers have incorporated this trick into all sorts of their products. 

When you open your favorite app, check your email, and endlessly scroll or swipe, you're subconsciously trying to "win" something. But ask yourself, what exactly are you trying to win? 

Another psychological hijack is social reciprocity. If someone pays you a compliment, for example, you feel the need to return the compliment. This can play out in your digital life as well. If you send an email, it's discourteous if the recipient doesn't reply right away. If you follow someone online, it's disrespectful (and even hurtful) if they don't follow back. </page>

<page 28>: This is why networks, for example, notify you when someone tags you in a post or lets you know when someone "read" your message. Or, when you send a message, you can see the wavering dots when someone is replying to you. And in some apps, you can see how long it's been since you've interacted with someone. You feel anticipation and pressure to stay engaged, to respond, to check back, to interact. 

We use AI and neuroscience to increase your usage ... make apps more persuasive ... it's not an accident. It's a conscious design decision. We're designing minds. </page>

I get it ... I get it ... we're designed to become addicted and to split our attention, but what do we actually do about it? How can we improve? 

With one, the awareness that there is a problem, two, the action and accountability to actually make a change, and three, acting with intention. 

<page 31>: Experts recommend spending 25 minutes to two hours working on a project at a time. If you're spending less than 25 minutes on an important or challenging task, then you're killing concentration and deflating your ability to warm up your brain before you quit. Your brain typically takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to work following a distraction. 

Every time you shift, you shift your attention, from one thing to another, the brain has to engage a neurochemical switch, that uses up nutrients in the brain to accomplish that. So if you're attempting to multitask ... doing four or five things at once, because the brain doesn't work that way. Instead, you're rapidly shifting from one thing to the next. Depleting neural resources as you go. And, we have a limited supply of that stuff. </page>

Earlier this year, I found myself jumping from tasks to tasks (without giving any project my full attention and intention).

Yes, it was in part to the depression I was chemically feeling, but I also developed the awareness that I was using multi-tasking as an escape.

I used it as a way to self punish and self perpetuate this misery I decided I wanted to wallow in. 

<page 40>: Distractions are largely welcome because they can temporarily save us from contending with the challenge of a difficult task ... loneliness, fear, self-doubt, self-loathing and security. 

All of our technological distractions have made that easier for us to because they are designed to seem so useful and nurturing. What could be wrong with sharing our photos with friends? News alerts might inform us of something we really need to know. </page>

<page 44>: Every day when you wake up with a new, intentional mindset and resolve to change your trajectory toward a more positive vision and more productive behavior, you are, by default, beginning your day just as you did yesterday and the day before that. You are caught in a legacy trap, a routine of current behaviors and beliefs that govern your day and life ahead. You can never move forward without a conscious effort. </page> 

My action item this week is to start keeping a notepad by my bed and every morning write down what my intention is for that day.

I normally spend mornings reading through stories on Apple News, or entertainment related websites. I want to change that to hold my own self accountable for what my day will be and bring, not spending the first beat of my morning reading other people's stories. 

I can honestly say I've never done that before. 

Thanks, Brian! 


Oh, and want to hear a podcast about intimacy, setting boundaries, and digital distractions? Check out this conversation with OneToughMuther. 



#NerdsUnite: Dear world, I'm ready for a life takeover "Lifescale" style

I love how long this post took me to write (you'll see why this is the whole point in just a second).

These (about to be) series of posts are very special to me.

I'm currently going through a lot of changes personally and professionally - and with all of these IRL and digital distractions percolating, I need to make sure I'm staying true to my own intention, and staying true to myself.

I don't know what that means yet, but I do know thanks to my friend @BrianSolis, I am going to give it a try. 

I've talked about this previously, but my friend Brian has a new book out called Lifescale. (This is not an affiliate link.) Brian is one of THE smartest, hardest working, and kindest people I have ever met. I can't begin to tell you how many amazing conversations we've had over the past decade ... let alone our star studded adventure where I dropped the mic on one of my favorite pop stars. 

Brian is one of those few and rare people in life who shine so naturally and organically. He practices what he preaches, and to hear him speak ... he's amazing ... through and through.

You can read more about his journey here, but this book has been very personal for Brian. As someone who CHURNS out content at an UNGODLY IMPRESSIVE RATE, (I know this because I've seen it first hand) he found himself not being able to focus the same way he used to. 

Wait, let me just have him tell you this next part ... 

Nerds say hi to Brian ... Brian say hi to the nerds ... 

Page 10: "I began to notice I couldn't focus the way I used to. I felt on edge and I wasn't having much fun at all, constantly putting off "me" time and time with friends and family to keep up with my commitments. I was almost always either online or on my phone, needlessly consuming content with no real bearing on either my personal or work lives." 

"... I kept forgetting about important events coming up, and found myself making lots of careless mistakes. I would also catch myself staring at a screen or talking at people when I was in meetings or out with friends more than listening." 

I said those EXACT words in this post:

About six weeks ago I admitted to myself (and loved ones) that I'm in a depression. I caught myself staring at my computer screen for SEVEN solid hours without doing any work. I recognized that I'm no longer living life for the actual day, instead I'm waiting for the HOPE/ CHANCE that I'll feel better tomorrow. 

While I have actually been able to pull myself out of the depression (thank you self care and Jerry Bruckheimer), I know I still need help. The first sign of anything being "off" in my system is when I am not writing. The fact that this post took weeks and weeks of edits and re-edits is very strange for me. I was born a writer and storyteller. In fact, I just found this last week back at my parents house ... 

I love how snarky I was at such an early age. See this next one? I wrote "yeah right, like I actually went there" below the brochure.

I didn't actually cross my brother's face off. These pictures were also in my grandmother's album and she wrote on the back of each one so sometimes they'd cross over. 

This last entry is my favorite. 

 It reads AND I QUOTE ... 

"Then something happened when I went to the bathroom! It was stuck! I waited 25 minutes and nobody came in. Then my grandma came in. While I was stuck in there it reminded me of the time they left me in a store for 10 min. 


 <tangent> I was SO specific with time. In one entry I wrote, "he came up at 7:39 am." Why was I in there for 25 minutes? Who knows. I'm sure my grandparents wanted some quiet time and knew I wasn't dead. Was I left in a store? Yep. What I found more interesting was the fact that I didn't just climb over or under the door. There must have been a reason. </tangent> 

Anywho, why is this album so special? Because growing up, I had hundreds of these journals. I documented everything I did, everywhere I went ... writing is the equivalent of breathing to me.

In 2007 however, I lost everything I owned in a massive cockroach infestation and lost them all. I have NO IDEA how my parents managed to find this, but when I saw it I teared up remember exactly who that 9 year old girl was, and how determined she was to tell a good story. 

WHO SAYS ENJOY THE SHOW ON THE INSIDE COVER OF A PHOTO ALBUM?! I knew I was going to do what I was going to do, and I want to get back to doing it. 

Having a TV show is great ...  

... but I want to write just to write. Not write with the knowledge that what I'm doing "could one day be an episode," or even worse saying to myself "I don't have time to write. Look at the XYZ mounting on my to do list." 

This is my life, and while yes, my life rights have been sold (twice) - it's about the choices I make and what I do with it. 

Emphasis on the ... 

I've noticed a huge change in Brian since writing this book, so each week I am going to hold myself accountable by not only practicing what he preaches, but also documenting the changes. 

Thank you for your vulnerability in writing this book Brian. I'm ready to learn!!! 

Page 19: "I call the method I developed for charting and staying on this new focused and productively creative course lifescaling; it's a process for achieving an intentional state of happiness, creativity and mastery in the face of the onslaught of distractions. Lifescaling isn't just about performance, it's about finding authentic happiness through unleashing your creativity, and about defining your own path in life, your own way. 

The first step in lifescaling is coming to terms with why we've become so addicted to distraction. It's certainly not entirely our fault - not by a long shot- but the truth is that we've been complicit. So let's start investigating why ..."