Use Your Social Media Addiction to Slingshot You Toward Creativity

Our brains are being totally bombarded by information 24/7: emails, texts, YouTube videos, Snapchats, tweets, news stories, Pinterest boards…this list goes on until the end of time.

The truth is, 99.999% of it is un-important. You and I both know that if we stopped checking Facebook for a day, or a week, or even a year, the world would not explode. In fact, like Aziz Ansari pointed out on Fresh Air last year…we probably wouldn’t miss anything significant at all.

So why don’t we stop?

Well, for starters, because we’re not being honest with ourselves about what’s really going on here.

The Problem

If you think about how a casino works, it’s strikingly similar to social media, and the internet, at large. Everything—from the flashing lights to the credits instead of dollars—is intentionally designed to make you lose your sense of time, place, and even reality.

The payouts, like email alerts or Facebook notifications, come at unpredictable intervals, which stimulates your dopamine system, even though the vast majority are totally unnecessary.

What’s worse, all this stimulation doesn’t just waste your time, it also drains your mental and emotional energy. When you take that five-minute Twitter break to check your news feed (even if you miraculously manage to keep it to five minutes), you aren’t really giving yourself a break at all.

You’re depleting the raw materials you need to be productive. You are an addict, and it is literally murdering your creativity.

The Solution

After my first LSD trip a few weeks ago, one of the big changes I wanted to make was completely cutting useless addictions out of my life: excessively checking my email, endlessly browsing social media feeds, and binge-watching YouTube content, etc.

I’ve been successful so far (down to five minutes max per day) partly because I haven’t only been trying to stay AWAY from technology, I’ve also been using technology to slingshot me TOWARD creativity.

Here’s how it works:

I don’t turn my phone off, or even silence it.

But when I do get a notification, I instantly go to a different room or outdoors, and do something creative or energizing—like writing an idea down, drawing, going for a run, or cooking.

I don’t check the notification until I’ve completely forgotten about it, or, sometimes, even until the end of the day.

This is pretty simple, but it’s powerful because, instead of just trying to avoid your addiction, you can actually use it to rewire your brain and trigger creativity instead of compulsiveness.

The Benefits

I was honestly shocked at how much more energy I had after cutting down my internet use to almost nothing (except absolutely essential tasks).

In about two weeks, I went from feeling like a zombie 24/7—and even going into catatonic states, where I felt like I couldn’t do anything but watch videos or browse feeds for hours at a time—to being 1,000% more productive and creative every day.

When I wake up, it now takes me less than sixty seconds to get out of bed, because I’m actually excited about projects I’m working on and ideas I want to explore.

So, TL;DR… if you feel like your brain is totally tapped out, stop using technology RIGHT NOW. You’ll probably be amazed at how much energy it was stealing from you, and how much you now have to work with.

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