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The Digital Age Dilemma: Finding Freedom from Distractions

October 10, 2023


In today’s hyper-connected world, distractions are just a click away. Whether it’s the allure of social media notifications, the constant ping of work emails, or the temptation to scroll through endless feeds, staying focused has become a significant challenge. But as the digital landscape evolves, so do the tools and strategies to combat these distractions.

The Freedom to Focus

Susie Alegre, a London-based human rights lawyer and author, knows this struggle all too well. To maintain her concentration, especially during her writing sessions, she turns to an app called ‘Freedom.’ This app allows users to block specific social media sites, and websites, or even shut off internet access entirely for a designated period.

Alegre remarks, “I think it’s incredibly hard by willpower alone to have a smartphone and not waste a significant amount of time on it.” She opts for the Freedom app over merely switching off her phone because it allows her to remain contactable without distractions. And she’s not alone in this endeavor. Other apps like ColdTurkey, FocusMe, and Forest offer similar features, catering to a growing audience seeking digital detox solutions.

The Rise of Monk Mode

With the increasing challenges that come with new technologies, a new approach to productivity has emerged, named “monk mode.” This method involves dedicating oneself entirely to a single task, free from tech or other distractions. The term grows in popularity daily, especially on platforms like TikTok, where the hashtag #monkmode has over 77 million views.

Alegre’s recent book, “Freedom To Think,” delves deep into the challenges of focus in today’s day and age. She discusses how technology is intricately designed to captivate our minds completely, often halting our thought processes.

The Science Behind the Distractions

Research shows that these social platforms are not all fun and games but rather addictions for many. The simple ping of a notification creates an “open loop” in our brains, forcing us to check and close that loop, which releases dopamine. This need for dopamine creates the challenge of resisting the urge to check our devices continually.

Pushing Back Against Technology

Fred Stutzman, the founder of the Freedom app, was inspired to create the app while completing his undergrad when he found himself on Facebook while trying to study. He believes that the fight against the addictive nature of social media platforms, especially when giants like Meta employ numerous experts to make their apps more engaging, is an uphill one.

Looking Ahead

As technology continues to advance, especially with the rise of artificial intelligence, the distractions are only set to increase. Vladimir Druts, co-founder of FocusMe, sees “monk mode” as a movement against the prevailing desire for instant gratification in today’s society. He believes that as the digital world grows, the need for strategies like monk mode will become even more crucial.

In Conclusion

The digital age, with all its benefits, has brought along a myriad of distractions. But with tools like the Freedom app and strategies like monk mode, there’s hope for those seeking to reclaim their focus and productivity. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, so will the methods to navigate it effectively.


Original Article from: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-66934688

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

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