Let’s talk about sticky products and how we use them in our daily life. If they are good or bad for us and what can we do to stay on the good side of using them.
Have you heard recently one of these pieces of advice from a wise friend?
“You should stop using Facebook/Instagram it’s a waste of time!”
“You don’t need a TV, it only eats up your time!”
“Stop looking at your phone (portable device) in bed. Your bedroom is only for sleeping and sex.”
“Don’t install APPs on your phone they only distract you.”
Essentially there is an underlying pattern that can be noticed in this type of claims.
“Stop using [TOOL] because it is bad [Describe in what way it is bad].”
I won’t argue if these claims are true or not. They have a paradoxical aspect, in my opinion. They can be true and false depending on the user using the tools involved.
“A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer’s hand.”
Tools can’t be bad or good, they are tools. People keep blaming the lack of self-discipline and mindfulness on the tools and not on the real culprit.
How good tools turn into bad ones
Do you spend time thinking about how you use the tools around you? Do you know Why you really use these tools?
Good tools are easy to use and feel intuitive. You can grab them and start using them without thinking.
Good tools are sticky until they stick so much that they become bad tools. People tend to be mindless when using a good tool. This frequently helps us adopt habits that eventually eat away our precious time and give us small value for the price.
There will be always negative and positive sides in each tool you use.
It is up to the user to control what he gets back from the tool. Just like Frodo and Sauron's ring. The choice is yours. The tool can be a lifesaver or destroyer.
Some examples of good tools that can turn bad quickly
Our best friend, the Mobile phone! Always around us, ready to respond to our cravings to get new information or get in touch with the other side of the world. Even during important meetings, even during talks with our spouse. Our phone requires attention immediately even at the price of disrespecting the people we care about.
Facebook & Instagram nice platforms/tools. You can have them on all your smart devices. Maintaining relationships across the world becomes so easy with these types of platforms! We can be up to date with the latest cat videos and all kinds of strange topics.
However, the moment you lose control over yourself and the hunger for useless information the tool starts to take over you. That's where you start crossing to the “dark side”. The dark side, where time disappears like you’re sitting next to a black hole.
Our favorite smart TV. A window that allows us to see magical worlds and hypnotizing stories of 20 seasons. Why should you go out and meet with the rough reality when you can sit and your brain can fire up like a new year’s eve fireworks by watching the screen.
A similar pattern can be observed for many other tools.
Think about how you use the tool in your hands.
How to use properly any tool?
Define your priority, goals and what will help you create the most value out of the time you invest. This will help you to have the self-discipline to dominate the tool you use.
Let’s say you want to have a good time with your loved one and watch a tv-show. You have the option to sit down and binge watch it together for 8 hours, where the majority of the time you won’t even interact with each other.
Will it be better if you still watch the TV show but you do it in a week instead of a day? This way you can increase the interaction with each other, talk about it, discuss it, maybe check some of the actors etc.
Think about how you can create the most value of the same activity. It will give you the motivation to be disciplined and still have an enjoyable time.
Easier said than done
Yes! I agree it is challenging especially when we take into consideration highly addictive tools like our mobile phones.
Keep asking yourself:
- What is the nail I want to hammer? What’s my priority?
- How should I hold the hammer? How can I get the most value out of the tool I am using?
- How will this allow me to create more value?
- Can I use another clever tool or automation to assist me in my self-discipline? Time limiters, focus apps etc.?
We should not blame the tools we use for our lack of self-discipline and goals. Don’t be like “I will buy an old phone that can be just a phone.”. The technology we have today at our disposal is the extension of our own minds. It is our new appendages.
It is up to us to use these new tools to further extend how we can create value and impact the world around us.
Think about how you use the tool.
How do you deal with tools you find distracting?
Any tips for using efficiently distracting tools/platforms?