The Imminent Return of Glorious Boredom: Plus 5 Hacks for Digital Awareness

“Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”

  ~ Mahatma Ghandi

“Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight.”

~ Yoda

Selling Our Consciousness

There’s a tremendous Korean expression which eloquently articulates what we’ve been doing the past few years: “정신이 팔렸다.” (Jeong-shin-e pallyeot-da). Literally, it means “one has sold his/her consciousness,” but the figurative meaning is that one has become entirely focused on something inappropriate or unnecessary.

Social Media At Its Best

Social media is immensely beneficial. We are the first generation in history to experience the pleasure of easily reconnecting with friends and family after being out of touch for decades. Charitable causes have benefited from being shared instantly around the world.

Businesses are more responsive to customers than ever before thanks to the amplified ramifications of both positive and negative public comments. And many of us have experienced the instant reassurance that comes from seeing that a loved one has been “marked safe” during a disaster. The benefits of social media are indisputable. However….

Social Media’s “Dark Side” and Its Appeal

Social media is a dispassionate tool, susceptible to manipulation from both creators and users. From the ever-present allure of instantaneous self-aggrandizement and/or self-righteous indignation to the outright manipulation of democracy, we are all waking to its dark side.

As networks themselves have become expert at “Brain Hacking,” they have begun to feed us a constant stream of dopamine hits (aka “likes”) and infuriating opposing political views to elicit frothing comment. The temptation of the digital world’s dark side can quickly overcome the benevolent reasons for having joined the fray.

No one signed up for Facebook so they could angrily preach to their uncle about his political views. No one originally signed up for Twitter so they could fritter away their lunch hour looking at mildly humorous pictures of cats. And no one signed up for Instagram so they could scroll photos while driving and get in a car accident.

The Budding Transition to Digital Awareness

It seems like just yesterday when the virtues of “multitasking” were being touted as the solution to all our problems. The past few years have quickly brought about an understanding of just how misguided this view was, and we are now in a desperate race to regain a more focused and productive lifestyle. The media is writing more articles about the negative side of technology (and how to “disconnect”) than ever. Even the woman who introduced the Facebook like button “has hired a social media manager to monitor her Facebook Page so that she doesn’t have to.”

We all know that social isn’t going anywhere though, and this is all part of a growing movement that is making people more conscious of their digital habits. We (SNS Social) seek to help small and medium businesses grow and communicate with their audience, but we know as well as anyone that mindlessly targeting clicks and “social lift” is a recipe for short-term success and long-term decline.

We want to both help our clients connect and help users benefit. We want to be part of the transition from the days of multitasking your way through a bombardment of content communication channels into a mindful examination of the best way to use these networks to return to a slower – and perhaps more “boring” – lifestyle.

Until recently a much-maligned concept, researchers are beginning to discover the benefits of time spent not engaging in dynamic activity. It’s the fountain of creativity, and with the advent of artificial intelligence, it won’t be long before creativity is the only advantage we have over machines. Better start cultivating it now.  Here are some ideas:

5 Practices To Decrease the Chaos

1. Do not use your smartphone during transit.

I know it’s the easiest way to kill time. But why do you want to kill your most valuable asset?Use your time during transit to bring a sense of peace and focus to your life. When walking, take in the sights. When you’re on the subway, try reading a book during your trip. You will find almost certainly find that the sense of serenity that you receive will leave you enjoying your final destination much more.

2. Logout of any social media accounts on your primary browser.

Habit is responsible for the majority of our behavior. Implementing even the smallest of obstacles can result in focused productivity boosts that really add up. Logging out of your social media accounts in one browser will force you to open a different browser to access them.

3. Hide or unfollow posts and people that make you feel self-righteous indignation.

Whether you are right or not, you’re not changing anyone’s mind. Don’t let social networks drive a wedge between you and your loved ones by constantly showing you the things you don’t like about them. Put your focus on what you like about them. Use “Hide” functions when possible to avoid posts you would find objectionable.

4. Use apps to monitor time spent on your smartphone and social media.

There’s a preliminary step to this one. Decide how much time do you want to spend on social media each day? Each week? Answer those questions and then plan accordingly.Quality Time for Android and Moment for the iOS are apps that will let you know not only how long you have been on your smartphone, but which apps you spent all your time on. Helpful because some of that time on the smartphone may be very productive if you were using the right apps.

5. Shut off all of the “push” notifications you possibly can.

Yes, all. Yes, you will be fine. And yes, you can leave them on for certain applications should you so choose. But you really don’t need to. Here’s how to shut off push notifications for Android.

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