I’m a dopamine addict.
I said it.
If a webpage takes more than 2 seconds to load, I groan and move to something else that can give me a productivity dopamine rush.
If I have 2 seconds of time on my hands, I take a quick peek at my phone to see if there’s anything I can do even just briefly [as if 2 seconds would enable me do anything worthwhile].
Riding the tailwinds of my last reflective post on the topic of margin, I’ve been musing lately on how this deep addiction I feel to “quick hits” of dopamine via [even perceived] productivity is infringing on my attention span.
And then in my most transparent moments, I realize this addiction is also preventing me from focusing on the things that breed life and growth.
Because what we pay attention to most is a reflection of the person we want to become.
So, my screen time paired with my ability to seamlessly switch between 20 open screens makes me… a futuristic robot.
I’m clearly a work. in. progress.
Whether your dopamine hit d’jour comes from efficiency, screen time, sugar or ________ [fill in the blank], I don’t have any “hacks” for you. Because there aren’t any.
However, I do have some tactics aimed at: noticing this addiction to dopamine and targeting it in a self-compassionate way.
On the other side of targeting this addiction to dopamine is presence, perspective and… peace.
when you’re in line [anywhere], be in line [not in line and on the phone]
when you’re having a conversation with someone, be in the conversation [and don’t budge when you hear a notification from your phone – remain present and check it later]
when you’re on your computer, decide which task you are going to work on and open one window for that task so it receives your full attention before switching to the next [this requires more focus than I thought it could possible require but wow this one has flexed my muscle of attention beautifully!]
sit quietly and breathe for 5 min daily [another name for this is meditate]
consider reading a book at night for entertainment letting your brain come alive instead of Netflix taking the wheel
turn the screen of your phone to red with the click of a button making that dopamine hit from doing things on your phone much less… exciting
When you flex the muscle of attention daily [even in baby ways], what you’ll notice is a more global relaxation around anything that you rely upon for hits of dopamine.
In other words, you either feed the dopamine-hit dragon or nourish the grounded goddess. Who are you feeding right now?
Buzz buzz yep you just got a text but you can check it later. Because you’re right here with me. Present and engaged.