What if I told you there was a way to not only enjoy productivity but also simultaneously find more joy in the work that we do? What if I took this a step further and said you could do this in a mere 24-hour period? You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, right.”
And I don’t blame you.
In a world where technology, advertisements, and social media consume the majority of our attention, it can become increasingly difficult to focus and dial in on your responsibilities. Even a simple task like reading a book for an hour without distractions can seem daunting. Yet, you can binge-watch your favorite Netflix shows for hours on end and not think twice about it.
As media consumption increases, our attention spans decrease. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing but can pose a threat to our productivity, motivation, and even our happiness.
But hope is not lost, for an emerging trend that started in Silicon Valley examines how we can permanently “rewire” our brains to enjoy productivity. And we broke it down for you.
Enjoy Productivity Through A Dopamine Detox
Dopamine Detox is a term coined by Dr. Cameron Sepah, CEO of Maximus and a renowned professor of psychology at UCSF’s medical school. His viral article inspired several entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley to embark on this journey for themselves to see the benefits of the detox.
The neurotransmitter, dopamine, functions as the engine of our body’s “reward system.” Whenever you eat food, listen to music, or receive a “like” on a social media post, the body “rewards” you with dopamine. Dating back centuries, dopamine has been essential for performing actions favorable for survival.
So, our brain is wired to seek dopamine in excess because it “translates” to a higher chance of survival. However, nowadays, we no longer have to outrun tigers and embark on hunts for our daily supper.
Why Dopamine Is So Addicting
We now get dopamine when we accomplish personal milestones, like when we finish a chapter in our favorite book or finish the last half of the ice cream tub; we swore we wouldn’t. Like survival, these dopamine-producing activities naturally draw us to them. This phenomenon can, in turn, either work in your favor or against it. Interestingly enough, the release of dopamine comes from the anticipation of a reward, rather than when you get the reward itself.
This concept is what drives us as humans to want more, achieve more, progress, and evolve. Dopamine is what drives our motivations for advancement, which, in theory, is good for society as a whole. This becomes a problem, however, with social media and various forms of technology alike.
Platform designers are well aware of this nature. They continually look to exploit our dopamine systems by creating apps to capture our attention for as long as possible. In turn, our attention suddenly becomes an intangible commodity for marketers, web, and product designers. Understanding this reality is the first step in taking a new perspective on our daily habits.
A dopamine detox, in turn, is the idea that by reducing the amount of interaction we have with these stimulants, the more we search for dopamine release through other productive means. Now, you can do this at any pace and scale.
For some, a 4-hour “technology break” in the middle of the day is all that is needed. For others, spending several days in technological isolation is essential for writing block cures, knocking down creative barriers, and refocusing on what’s important.
By embarking on a week-long detox, say for 2 hours daily, you’ll get back an entire 14 hours you might’ve spent searching for dopamine through these technological stimulants. When we fill these hours with literature, exercise, research, meditation, and other productive activities, we can slowly start to see ourselves bettering our lifestyle.
When we no longer give our undivided attention to these stimulants, our attention spans “repair” themselves. Sitting down for hours and accomplishing work no longer seems daunting, but rather enjoyable because of this redistribution of dopamine.
How To Start Your Dopamine Detox Today
The simplest way you can start this process today is by challenging yourself to complete a 24-hour detox. A great day to start this is typically a casual Sunday in which your responsibilities and daily stresses tend not to be significant.
It would help if you stayed away from all artificial dopamine producers. Below, we’ve listed some of the most effective dopamine producers to avoid during a detox.
- Social media
- Video games
- All forms of gambling
- Alcohol consumption
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Phone usage (outside of essential communication).
While this may sound difficult at first, you must remind yourself that you’re stronger than you think. This process is certainly not easy but provides excellent benefits to anyone who completes it. When you rid yourself of these habits, you force yourself to be alone with your thoughts and seek healthy, productive ones instead. A detox can prove particularly beneficial when we feel lost on our path in life or simply need a “re-boot.”
Having completed this process several times before, I can assure you that these benefits work. Detoxing is especially important during a time where most people gravitate towards instant gratification as opposed to the long-term. The first time I attempted this process, I’ll admit it was uncomfortable. Not only that, but I thought of constant excuses as to why I should stop, which clashed with my ambition.
But it is through these uncomfortable yet bearable times that you can finally learn to enjoy productivity. By allowing your willpower and desire for growth to steer the wheel, you’ll find enjoyment in the fruits of your labor.
Figuring out how to properly conduct a dopamine detox based on your needs may take trial and error. However, once you experiment and see what works, you can better assess your decisions when you face uncertainty. Whether that is finishing an assignment, reading without interruption of thoughts, or merely focusing for long periods, it will help. As you strive to be more productive, I implore you to try any version or extent of a dopamine detox.
In doing so, you can unlock higher levels of productivity and happiness in your day-to-day life.
Enjoyed this post? Then you’ll love our article on The Top 5 Apps for Productivity!