The After Effects

We seem to be too focused on the short term pleasure of dopamine hits versus what happens after. Nick Offerman, in his book Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside, made a brilliant observation when comparing his experiences of conquering a video game over the course of two weeks and building a coffee table over a similar time frame. Both provided plenty of pleasurable neurotransmitters in the brain. The after effects, as you could imagine, were quite different.

While I’m not a gamer, I do spend time on things that do not have those great after effects. Eliminating this type of behavior is probably not realistic, but reducing it is. An area in which we all could probably have more awareness is how much we use our smartphones. Since there is an app for that, and I journal daily, I began tracking my usage.

Wow. We use our phones a lot.

I’ve been tracking my usage since March 8, and tracking both usage and launches since April 18th. The act of tracking the data has naturally decreased my usage. When I actively tried to use the smartphone less, I observed more fulfilling days. Somehow, time appeared to practice my guitar, read a chapter in that book I’m reading, or go for a walk or run.

What are some things that you would love to do, but seem to not have time for?

What behavior could you benefit reducing?

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