In the last few years I have spent a lot more time thinking about attention and focus, both as a mental game coach and as a parent. More and more my clients are coming to me with struggles related to the fact they, like many people, are addicted to their phones and social media.
Then I read articles like this which make me realize we could be in a national epidemic of tech addiction. Silicon Valley bosses prohibit their children from using the very tech that they produce, because they know what it is doing to all of us. This is becoming the smoking of our time, but thankfully we are waking up to it. If you want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes, check out this interview with Tristan Harris.
There are many problems with tech addiction, but one of the specific ones I deal with is something I call ‘Bloated Brain’, which I cover in The Mental Game of Poker 2. In both my books I make constant comparisons between the brain and your muscles, for good reason. Bloated Brain, however, is a bit more like your stomach. When we absorb too much information it has a similar impact on our brain as too much food does in our stomach. We feel slow, and tired, and we are unable to take any more information in. (Homer Simpson knows all about this)
If you are playing poker or trading you are already exposing yourself to thousands upon thousands of data points every day and using a lot of your cognitive resources. Then you have to spend your entire day avoiding thousands upon thousands of marketing messages wherever you go. Then there is email, your friends Facebook posts and tons and tons of clickbait. A lot of my clients try and relax with video games, but unfortunately, that’s just absorbing more data.
Now more than ever you need breaks from all that information. Go for walks with no tech, go to the gym, listen to calming music, take one day off from work and tech every week, meditate if that works for you. I also advise my clients to journal, it’s a good way to get that information out of your brain and help your brain to digest data. It really helps them clear their head and a side benefit is that they tend to sleep better.