Are You Harboring Weapons of Mass Distraction?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 · 6 Comments

You may have already realized that the geniuses behind many of the apps and media websites that we visit daily have crafted their apps to play on our anxious and addictive tendencies. Why? Because the more frequent and longer our eyeballs stay on a page means they can sell advertisements for more $$$.

Does it matter that it makes us more distracted, listen less to the people around us or increase mortality rates for car accidents?

Take a moment and watch this brilliant short video…you’ll love the graphics and the artistic spoken word.

So what does it mean to spend our time well? Or maybe a better question is what does it mean to be more intentional with our attention?

At this point, most of our brains have been trained by the tech’s environmental cues to jerk over to it the minute we either hear it, see it or feel it. Is it Time Well Spent to get sucked into 30minutes of Facebook messages? Is it Time Well Spent to get pulled into the binge watching of Netflix as the ticker counts down to the “next episode?” Or walking around the street staring down at our phones? What would you really rather be doing?

Technology is amazing, our phones are now our everything, we use them to navigate much of our lives now. So we can’t, nor do we want to just put them away.

However, I’ll argue that our environments play a major role in our health and well-being. If your phone is always lying out, you’re going to be pulled to look at it more and when you do, it’s been designed to play into your brain’s attention control centers so you look at it longer. Then we make the app and media companies more money because they can sell ads for more :).

This is just reality.

If you’re wanting a bit more control and freedom to really choose when you want to engage your tech,  I’d suggest a couple things that can really help:

  1. Reduce Environmental Cues with Phone Storage – No joke, consider finding a place in your house to put your phone away where you can’t see it. You may still check it from time to time, but it won’t be an environmental cue anymore. Some ideas are Kitchen Safe: Time Locking Container, or the Ryobi ES9000 Phone Works Storage Case , or the Time Lock Safe.
  2. Turn It Back into a Phone (Data Off) – You can just go in the settings of your phone and switch the data off…that way you just turn it into an (almost) old fashion phone…no alerts and you can’t even check if you wanted to.

I would experiment with these two and see what you notice…you may just experience more freedom and some more Time Well Spent :).



Creator of A Course in Mindful Living 

PS – If you really can’t help yourself…here’s a link to a Toilet Paper Holder for your phone ;).

Originally published on Mindfulness and Psychotherapy


  1. Randy
    April 29, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Thank you Elisha. I very much needed this gracious and helpful counsel. It’s just what I needed.

  2. April 26, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Hi , great posts ! I’ve really admired your article , you’ve got some point here . It’s good to read your article i really-really like your story about . thank you for sharing a great more information .

  3. January 12, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Seems to me there are two basic approaches to the “Tyranny of Technology.” Both have an important role to play. The one emphasized in Elisha’s current blog is to remove the distraction from it’s ability to knock on your brain 24/7. Good advice. The flip side of the coin is to train the brain to savor peace. The more clear I become that I want to quiet my mind, the more I notice how sweet it is when I am truly present and not distracted, the more I reinforce the positive rewards of a mindful moment / hour / day … the more I am able to tell my technology when I am available, rather than have it tell me when I should be available (i.e. always.) It’s a dance. I keep my phone volume way down, don’t use vibration, and try to give myself lots of positive strokes when I’m aware that I am doing a good job of being mindful, being present, being me.

  4. December 29, 2016 at 8:04 am

    I still have notifications on but I turned off the ringer and the vibrate. So now I don’t actually know when anything comes in. Half the time I can’t even remember where I left my phone. It’s so liberating!

  5. Scott Johnson
    December 27, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Good advice. Before I had a mobile phone there was a lot of “what if they leave without me?” anxiety that has now switched over to “why don’t they shut-up so I can put down the phone and actually see them in person?” Latest silliness, only use my hand-me-down I-phone for calls and texts–deliberately no data use and I specifically signed up for voice/text only to be sure. But the phone downloads data on its own so every month I have to call to get a refund on unwanted data usage charged at a higher rate because my plan doesn’t include a fee for data. To avoid this, I now pay a fee to have the data blocked. It’s like a developing relationship where the phone is revealing a richer repertoire of needs as we get to know each other better.

  6. December 27, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    I loved this, everything about it. Thank you for the important and very timely reminder.

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