Tech-addicts, digital distractions, and stress

Information overload is a real thing, and it’s a digital age addiction. People have a need for constant communication, constant entertainment, constant updates. We are constantly bombarded with new stimuli via our smartphones, and we’ve grown accustomed to it. I wonder if these tech-addicts would stop being able to function if their phone battery died.  I’m not sure if GenZ teenagers are ever apart from their phones long enough to reflect on their real lives.

My real life is divided into: what I can do before work, and what will have to wait until after.  I might have the only job in the city that actively denies internet and cell service.   Knowing full-well that all forms of social communication will have to wait until after 5pm is a new kind of psychological discipline. I spend all day in a communication-free zone; no wi-fi, no internet, no smartphones allowed. As a functioning adult in the digital age, this makes life very difficult.
–  I’ve been lead to believe that sleep divides my time,  But it doesn’t, not anymore.   I find the most culminating part of my day occurs just before noon. Work divides my time. It’s the giant block of my day, when I know I won’t be available to do anything else.
My mind is preoccupied in the morning, still anxious from the night before, still adding to the to-do list that I fell asleep making. It’s not until noon that my mind is able to find clarity and equilibrium. After I work out all the emails and sort all the days tasks, I can finally relax.  During this mid-day stretch, after 4 hours without digital distractions, I am able to make a new chore list and reflect on my life.

–  Do people who are permanently attached to their phones feel overwhelmed all the time? Do they need that overload to feel normal? I have lukewarm feelings for new technology. I realize that it could be very beneficial for society and global communication, but I also know that it currently isn’t enriching the lives of the common man. It’s distracting people from their lives.
Henry David Thoreau claimed that new technology was robbing life of its richness, and encouraged us to create an area of inner simplicity and peace away from the  intensity of connectedness. He was talking about the recent inventions of the day, the telegraph and railroad, but Digital technology is much more difficult to escape from. If he is correct about technology robbing life of its richness, does this mean that the tech-addicts have hollow fruitless lives?   I wonder if their individuality dissolves into the ideals of the digital social sphere. I wonder if they obsessively focus on maintaining their digital personas at the expense of having real relationships with people in real life.

I am thankful that my work desk is a Walden Zone of digital detachment. It allows me time to collect myself and think deeply about what is actually important in my life. This distance between myself and the overload of continuous digital updates has helped me find more satisfying uses for my time and energy.  Fewer distractions, more clarity.  It’s not the most productive space, but it is therapeutically meditative [a quiet place for my mind to slow down]. I find that I’m more motivated and less distracted with my free time now. More willing and able to commit brainpower to my interests.
The millennials and generationZ might be too distracted to do anything productive with their time. We have young adults today who have grown up with a phone in their hand, and now have no other special skills.

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