Shhh… Agent Smith is waking up from the walkie-talkie’s noise. He never gets a chance to say a word though. “Sir, they are coming!”– shouts his assistant, – “Attack on all fronts! News on VK, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Oh, my God! The webinars are bombing. Let's get under cover! Here come articles about marketing! There's a whole bunch of them. Podcasts, broadcasts, mailing…” The signal is lost.

No kidding, the content attacks us everywhere on his Majesty the Internet. It is not funny anymore. Burnout and fatigue roll on people like peat fires. Most of my colleagues need weeks to regain their strength from information overload.

Why is this happening?

One of the reasons for it: We get addicted to "useful rest" – we read educational articles, watch webinars, follow the Golden rule of "Write shorter" and all this in our time-off.

wasting time

Reading about business is easy, almost like a picnic, right? No, not really:

  • You can't rest and do push-ups at the same time.
  • Your energy goes away when you load your brain during the rest.
  • You get an awful lot of "useful" content that you won't even remember the next day. Nevertheless, it will be overloading your brain.

Probably, you will forget 70 % of this article in 20 hours, if you come across it surfing on the Internet. What is the efficiency of such articles, do you think? The five percent, more or less. However, it is not easy to explain it to our minds.

"Do not miss an opportunity" repeats our brain, eagerly glaring at each pixel of new content. Thus, we waste a lot of time and do not rest. We build up tension because the brain needs to clean up deposits of information that grow faster than Mario swallowed a bucket of mushrooms.

How we get used to content absorption?

  • Reproduction affects survival, that is why we get pleasure from sex.
  • Food affects survival, that is why we get pleasure from eating.
  • Learning new things affects survival, that is why we get pleasure from the content.

This pleasure leads to information overload. We eat it for breakfast, and after six, and at four in the morning – even if you wanted to go to bed at ten in the evening.

The brain turns on a reward system every time we discover something new (including news photos on Instagram). Sources of information have turned into digital drugs that we can’t get enough.

Every new window in our browser encourages us "to study something new". Our attention splits into a bunch of small tasks. Jumping from one task to another produces "pleasure" and automatism, where we scroll through the feed or switch bookmarks in search of something super-important.

The brain is searching for, while our consciousness stays in a vacuum. The real challenges keep still. Our body does not rest. We lose the ability to concentrate for a long time.

wasting time

Okay, okay, so what do we do now? Delete a social network account? Smash a router? Yes, this is also an option, but there are other solutions. About this below.

Digital gum

Chatting at work, scrolling the feed, watching “useful” videos – these are just a few examples of digital gum. Digital gum – is anything but rest or work, it is 100 % wasted time.

How to recognize digital gum?

Let’s say you want to cook semolina and look for a video on YouTube or google a recipe. This is necessary information because you will put this into practice. There is no gum.

But if you run into an episode “All-time top 10 recipes with semolina” and decide to read or bookmark this page thinking “what if someday” - this is it.

Content turns into digital gum with about a 95 percent likelihood if you're not going to use it for the next 72 hours.

Conclusion:

Search for content when it is necessary for real. Try to put the task into practice for the next 72 hours. Use a day planner – and do not forget about the deadline.

Do not overload your hard drive. Look for answers when you really need them. Study deliberately.

Exception:

We consciously decided to watch entertaining or useful content and spend some time on that in advance.

Sharp pauses between the consumption and processing

If you watch dozens of videos at a time, it is unlikely to remember the information from the first one. Okay, there are jokes you don't have to remember, but educational content needs to be processed.

The brain needs a pause to process the data and then give you something original.

Conclusion:

You consume content – you make a pause – you have a rest (at this time the brain works with content). The rest should be rest. Watching webinars and reading books on work does not work. Rest is nature, sport, movement, board games with friends. The less computer, the better. Learn to sit back and you'll be surprised at the results. But only in moderation.

The phone notifications

Turn all the pushes on the phone off. Let's say "Instagram" does not bring you money and you are not apt to grow your audience. Disable the app’s notifications. Scroll the feed if you want to find something.

If you fall for the notice: “user zayka777 recently posted her Instagram story “ - congratulations! You are at the mercy of digital gum again. In fact, the best notifications are ones from the bank.

wasting time

Oh, I almost forgot – stay the phone off the first thing in the morning. This is the most productive time, if you kill it for a phone, you spend the whole day like a fed python. There was the reason Steve Jobs forbade children to use iPhones without a time limit.

Information unloading

“For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (C).

Saturday is a weekly day of rest for jews since the dawn of time. It is a holy day so work and stress are forbidden. Jewish people still keep this custom and interfere with neither work nor business, on the contrary, there are a reboot and replenishment of forces.

Such simple things existed long before their scientific explanation and the emergence of science itself. Let's adopt them.

Conclusion:

Choose a day for a digital detox, read paper books, walk down the street, do your own things.

What about all these?

I want us to get the maximum benefit from the TexTerra blog and other sources of information. Absorb, process and apply new knowledge, instead of getting useless things in your head. That is pretty much it.

Perhaps I will conclude with a quote by Pavel Durov:

“The ability to concentrate on one activity for many hours is an increasingly rare skill in our online era. But this one is necessary for an intellectual, creative, or spiritual breakthrough. The future belongs to those who will build up immunity to technological traps and keep the ability for long concentration”.

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