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Phones are exhausting. Human beings have a limited amount of energy, and it’s important to be cognizant of how much energy you have, and where it goes, so that you can accomplish what is important to you. Smart phones were invented as a way to try to get more accomplished. But are they really helping you? Or are they draining YOUR battery?

Since the invention of computers, human beings have the capacity to be far more productive on a typical work day. Yet, working mentally (on spreadsheets, emails, billing, etc.) can be mentally but not physically exhausting. The body atrophies, the mind races.

As a human race, we’re still figuring out how to live healthy lives alongside technology. We only have principles, not solutions. There is no “perfect answer”. We’re still learning how much of our energy is stolen by the online world. That being said, here are 3 surprising ways technology drains your energy:

1. Notification Filtering


Over the past week, I’ve been paying attention to how much of my time I spend filtering notifications on my phone. The reality is unbelievable. When a notification pops up on your phone, do you swipe it away, respond immediately, respond later, read the message, skim the message, take the call, play the game, or something else? Researchers from Barcelona, Spain found that an average smartphone user received an average of 63.5 notifications per day.

2. Notification interruptions.


In the TV show How I Met Your Mother, Barney Stinson loses a “slap bet”. His friend Marshall offers him a choice: get slapped 10 times immediately, or 5 times, out of the blue, whenever Marshall chooses. Barney chooses the latter, and ends up living in constant fear of being slapped by Marshall. He never knows when it will happen. Notifications work the same way. They don’t consolidate themselves into a tidy 20 minutes of the day – they can strike at any time. This creates a constant interruption that results in a fragmented life.

3. Screen glare.


Most experts suggest turning off all screens an hour before bed. I’ve found that this is essential for a good night’s sleep. The reality is, screen glare interferes with our normal blinking patterns. It wakes us up and keeps us from getting a solid night’s sleep, which leads to more exhaustion (which for many of us translates into more time in front of a screen). Screens can be exhausting.

There’s a lot we can do about these three energy drains, but for now, I’ll leave you to think about it. I’m putting an action plan in place for myself.

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