The Value of Unplugging and Doing One Thing At a Time
We all need to give ourselves mental breaks, but we also need to focus and not let email notifications, Twitter notifications, suck our attention.
Maria Konnikova is the New York Times bestselling author of The Confidence Game (Viking/Penguin 2016) and Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes (Viking/Penguin, 2013). She is a contributing writer for The New Yorker, where she writes a regular column with a focus on psychology and culture, and her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, California Sunday, Pacific Standard, The New Republic, WIRED, and The Smithsonian, among numerous other publications. Maria is a recipient of the 2015 Harvard Medical School Media Fellowship, and is a Schachter Writing Fellow at Columbia University’s Motivation Science Center. She formerly wrote the “Literally Psyched” column for Scientific American and the popular psychology blog “Artful Choice” for Big Think. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where she studied psychology, creative writing, and government, and received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University.
We need to monitor ourselves and really learn to do one thing at a time.
For me there’s been a lot that I’ve had to do to actually maximize my own potential. When I was writing Mastermind I realized how Internet-addicted I was and I actually needed to install Freedom, an Internet blocking software, on my computer so that I wouldn’t go online.
It was really hard for me but eventually I was able to stay offline for four, five hours at a time. I turned my phone off because otherwise I’d be too tempted to check my Internet on the iPhone because unfortunately Freedom doesn’t yet block all your devices.
Now I don’t really need it nearly as often because I know I do it and I’ve already trained myself not to. It’s still nice once in a while. I think we all need to give ourselves mental breaks and realize that the Internet is wonderful but sometimes it’s good to just focus and not let those email notifications, those Twitter notifications - all those things that can just suck our attention - interfere.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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