As Nomophobia Increases, Time Seems to Pass Quicker
This past year for me has gone by quicker than any year before. Reflecting on 2018, it seems like I was eating King Cake one moment then preparing Thanksgiving dressing and turkey the next. Like most southerners, I look back on my year through the lens of holidays involving food.
In conversations with my friends, I have formed a theory . . . no, a hypothesis. Well, let’s be honest, this is simply a wild guess. Just hear me out! As we integrate phones with our lives more every year, our mobile screen time increases, causing our awareness of actual time in hours and seconds to decrease. We become more removed from our tangible, physical, “real” surroundings, and time seems to pass more quickly.
Here’s a breakdown if you like lists.
Phone integration increasesMobile screen time increasesOur awareness of actual time decreasesTime seems to pass quicker
What Do I Mean By Screen Time?
I don’t mean the time you get shown in a film on camera. I don’t work in the movie industry. I do, however, work in digital marketing! I’m talking about the time you spend on your phone, specifically. Laptops and computers would typically count in this too. For this blog, though, let’s stick to mobile addiction, so I don’t have to write an extra 5 paragraphs.
Phones have become one of the most vital parts of our lives. We reach for them when we wake up, scroll through them before going to bed, shop on them, order food with them, talk to each other through them, and even maintain our houses using them.
Scientists Prove Manipulating Time Is Possible
In a simple Google search, I found a few articles, and — BAM — I’ve discovered scientists have already proven that under certain conditions, the subjective sense of how much time has passed feels different. A 'New Scientist' article basically explains that when an individual is under stress, for example, this experience alters the amount of chemicals such as adrenalin in the brain. Scientists know adrenalin affects the rate of neuronal activity. If this is true about stress, can’t it be true about other variables? The constant is not stress, but it is the subjective sense of time passing.
Nomophobia: Mobile Phone Addiction
The rising addiction to cell phones and mobile devices is not necessarily the fault of those afflicted by it, in my opinion. Right now, the digital boom is in every industry. Whether or not you want to, it is difficult to find other means to survive as a business and keep up with the times without more cell phone usage.
Coined by CNN, nomophobia stands for “No Mobile Phone Phobia.” Statistics support that people in the U.S. aren’t simply using their phone, they are showing signs of addiction to them.
Surveys by the Pew Research Center this year showed that 77% of Americans own smartphones, which is up from 35% in 2011. On average, Americans are opening their phones 150 times a day. We open Facebook 50 of those times, by the way. SEE MORE BLOGS ABOUT FACEBOOK
More Screen = Less Awareness
If you’ve ever questioned this, just attend any concert, drive someone in your vehicle to a place they need to go, see a fireworks show, have a heart attack in public, or cross the street.
In my experience…
At concerts, there are more people filming with their iPhones than taking in the experience.Oftentimes your passenger won’t repay the favor of you driving them by providing you with undivided attention and good company. Lord knows most of you are on your phone while driving anyway, which is a terrible idea. Hopefully, you realize this before you kill someone.People spend more time taking videos of fireworks than enjoying the excitement of the show with someone special. I’m not sure why. Does it truly look the same in the footage? Do people watch these videos again later?More people will likely take a quick video of you having a heart attack in public than actually do anything to save your life.42% of pedestrians who cross the road as the “Don’t Walk” signal is flashing are on their smartphone.
In Conclusion… Live In The Time You Have!
To tell the same story backward, phone addiction is real. It even has a name. And it inhibits our awareness. Scientists have proven that inhibitors of our awareness do manipulate our perception of time. So, I think the reason we all keep feeling like “time is going by quicker” every year is because we’re spending more time entranced by our screens, becoming less aware of actual time and actual surroundings.
Here’s my advice. Take back your time. Live life in the real world. Limit your screen time (you can do this in your phone settings). Form a habit of only checking it for specific reasons, like work and email, then check it at specific times for everything else. This is your time on earth. How much of it do you want to spend staring into pixels?
...Like Chinese Water Torture. Here's How to ‘Stop the Drops’ and Optimize Your Life
Imagine you’re restrained, lying on your back. A tiny drop of water hits your forehead every three seconds. This doesn’t sound like torture. At most, you’re just slightly annoyed. Now imagine you’re still restrained, 10 full days later. The drops of water have never stopped. Would this drive you insane? This is called Chinese Water Torture. (Note: There are methods of torture described to be like this in the 15th or 16th century – thanks, Wikipedia).
Now, think about your day to day life. How many drops of water hit you throughout the day, right on the forehead? How many small aggravations do you put up with only because you’re too busy to deal with them?
My Chinese Water Torture
My drops of water once included many things. Some of them were in my personal life:
Tires that slowly would leak air over the course of three days.Plastic clothes hangers that would constantly break as I dressed in the morning.Pillows that were a little too thin, causing me to fold it in half for added comfort.
Many of them were happening at the office:
Chairs that leaned back too far.Printers that would never connect.Leaving at 6 p.m. for a very crowded gym, which meant rush hour on the weights.
For me, I didn’t notice many of these things when I had a lower stress position in our growing digital marketing firm. As I reached promotions and received increased responsibilities in new roles, I also saw my time grow more and more valuable. My focus became more important. And the phrase my CEO had been telling me for months, “It’s all about the little things” started to make complete sense.
Everything in digital marketing is about optimization — conversion optimization, search engine optimization, user experience optimization, etc. We optimize things by making small tweaks every month. These small tweaks, over time, amount to large impacts on website traffic, campaign performance, and overall ROI. Optimization is the yang to the above described yin. For every drop, there is a small optimization that can be made to your life.
I’m now on a mission to optimize my life. I started with the small drops. I replaced my tires, switched to felt clothes hangers (This took a few months, but it was worth it.), and invested in new pillows. These changes are huge on the budget, but they made a huge impact. It’s not all about driving safety, closet organization, or sleep comfort. It’s about the effects of those positive changes:
Because I don’t have to spend 20 minutes 10 times a month stopping at a local gas station to fill up my tires before work, I gained back 200 minutes of my time and added that back to my mornings.Without having hangers break constantly, putting my clothes away became incrementally less annoying and easier, so I stopped putting off the laundry chores as much. Now that I’m doing laundry regularly, I have nicer things to wear to work on a regular basis and more time in the mornings to get ready.Because I’m sleeping better, I’m less fatigued by the end of my week. This increase in energy allows me to spend more time focused while I’m at work, increasing productivity.
Stop the Drops
Here is a simple plan for optimizing your life and stopping the drops:
Identify the things that annoy you or hinder you from being completely focused in your daily life.
Organize them into three columns:
Easy / Simple to Fix / Small ImpactMedium / Will take some work to Fix / Large ImpactHard / Difficult to Achieve / Will change your life dramatically
Set an achievable time frame as your goal for each column to be complete.
1 month, get to work!6 months, slowly but surely!1 year, it’ll be worth it!
List the tasks you’ll need to do within each time frame to optimize your daily life.Keep this list visible.Set reminders on your digital calendar.Start checking those boxes off as you make changes to your daily life.Pay attention as your daily life starts to become optimized for your performance at work and satisfaction at home.Keep your list as a living document. When drops of water start to form, add them to your list in the appropriate column.Recognize where your savings are occurring, and feel free to use the extra bandwidth for your own personal gain!
The gains you will receive from making tiny optimizations will make room for other improvements in your life. When I got a promotion that required more of my time at the office, I moved my work out to the early morning. I couldn’t have done this successfully with my old tires, old pillows and old hangers. The time, energy, and patience it took me to deal with just those little things hindered my ability to do this. Without a morning gym routine, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with managing my team and my clients. Now, do you see how everything is connected?
Reward and Impact
These things pay off. Recently, I could buy a new luxury car and move into a nice flat in the heart of downtown. I’m not simply mending drops or removing restraints. I’ve now graduated to adding padding and protection from further drops that might come along the way.
This is the way I have learned to manage my ability to increase capacity and handle more responsibility to grow with our company. The reality is the busier you get, the more those drops feel like thunderstorms. Patience grows harder to carry, and tolerance becomes a test. If you are in an entry level role, now is the prime time to start managing this. If you are already rising in the ranks, get ahead of your drops before they drown you.
In Chinese Water Torture, the victim is very aware that the water is being purposefully dropped on his or her head by someone. In life, these drops are a bit harder to identify without intentionally analyzing yourself. If you don’t pay attention to them, this doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Optimization is the key. Good luck! Bring a friend, spouse, or coworker along with you, and share your successes.
As a millennial, I’ve already been privileged to a few hard lessons in business. One of the most prominent probably arose from witnessing the major automotive companies file for government bailouts in my early twenties. Who would have thought GM would need to shed half of their brands and seek government money to continue to exist? Another that comes to mind is watching the big box stores and department stores close their doors gradually in the past 10 years. Who could’ve pictured a world without Toys R Us?
As we are in an emerging tech world, the social media platform seems like a staple to society. People open their phones over 150 times a day on average, and 50 of those times, they open Facebook. It serves as a connector, an informer, and a place for people to document and/or advertise their lives. Facebook is everywhere. So why am I predicting it’s going to implode? Well, I am not. The Facebook leadership team will not let that happen. But they will have to change one problem with the “too large to fail” corporation that started in a college dorm room.
No, I don’t think this is tied to the common threats you already know about. Buying third party data is yesterday’s news, and everyone is doing it whether FB stays on that wagon or not. Advertising pays for the world, and it fuels economic growth and stability, so I’m not going to rant about their increasingly large ad platform. We are talking about a fundamental shift in the scope of Facebook’s role in our lives.
“What do you mean? Facebook isn’t going to fail.”
There’s one thing that the other monster tech companies: Apple, Google, Amazon, etc, are doing that Facebook is not. They are integrating their tech into the world, in an outward flow of innovation and life improvement. Assistants are in our offices and homes. We’re using their programs to run our offices. They are now our payment methods, our phones’ manufacturers, and even our books. Buttons allow us to shop from our pantries. As time moves on, tech surrounds us and makes our lives easier, integrating with us into our world.
Facebook has the opposite flow of their technology and user interaction. Facebook pulls us away from the world. To interact, we must take time ignoring the world while we replicate it, decipher it, or portray it, into a software for others to also ignore their surroundings to do the same. There are limited integration points in which you can live or participate in life while also participating in Facebook. This is an inward flow of innovation.
As other companies spend more time integrating with our lives, it becomes redundant to continue the process of doubling our efforts to portray these lives on FB. In the future, if we are seamlessly connected to our technologies, there will be no need for this service on the magnitude that Facebook is utilized right now.
So, what should Facebook do to get ahead of this? (HINT: Enter Machine Learning) Give me your ideas in the comments below. They’ve already started by adding recommendations as a major part of their user experience. Now, people are using FB to add to their daily lives in the real world (not the other way around). Let’s hope this is a sign they are here to stay. If Facebook intends to remain relevant over the next decade, I believe there’s still time for them to do so. However, they will have to stop aiming to replace our world and start aiming to enhance it. This would be a fundamental change in the mission for a social platform, but they have the data and the technology to truly make our world more connected. Let’s hope they do!
"I've heard of entrepreneurs. They are self-starters. But what is an intrepreneur? Did you make that up?" Over coffee at 4:30 a.m., I received this response from a coworker as we boarded our flight to visit clients in Charlotte.
Let’s allow Wikipedia to define this for us — no point reinventing the wheel, or in this case, the definition:
Pinchot (1984) defined intrapreneurs as "dreamers who do. Those who take hands-on responsibility for creating innovation of any kind, within a business" . In 1992, The American Heritage Dictionary acknowledged the popular use of intrapreneur and defined the term as "a person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation" . Koch (2014) goes further, claiming that intrapreneurs are the "secret weapon" of the business world . Based on these definitions, being an intrapreneur is considered to be beneficial for both intrapreneurs and large organizations. Companies support intrapreneurs with income and access to corporate resources, while intrapreneurs create innovation for companies .
If you work in a corporation (large or small), you probably know an intrepreneur or two. Heck, you might be one. Take this three-question quiz to test yourself:
1. How much paid time off do you have left in the bank?
2. Do you intentionally avoid tasks that aren't in your job description?
3. Does working on nights or weekends bother you?
If you don't even know your PTO or vaguely remember your job description, you might be an intrepreneur. If you lose track of where work ends and nights or weekends begin, consider yourself even closer to the title.
Understanding the Origin of Entrepreneurship
Intrepreneurs often quit their jobs and set up their own businesses, which is against the very nature of intrepreneurship. As a millennial, I studied in college during the housing bust and Great Recession. Graduates faced the harsh reality of little to no job availability. As I entered the workforce, no one was hiring. Many of my friends and family members graduated with college debt and no prospects, or very low-paying ones.
Under these circumstances, the trend seemed to be entrepreneurship. #Startup culture began to take off big time. My home city of New Orleans along with many other cities branded itself with slogans like "Get Caught in Our BRAINSTORM.” Entrepreneurship programs began substituting Free Enterprise courses. Shark Tank spurred a slew of non-profit organizations funding local self-starters. In a sense, if you weren't working for yourself, you weren't taking part in the movement.
To say I got caught up in the entrepreneurship trend would be an understatement. I lived and breathed it. I first treated my 9-to-5 like a daily chore. I eventually quit my secure, benefits-ridden job to pursue my passion of business ownership, starting three businesses within three years of graduating.
Making the Switch from E to I
So, five years later, why did I accept a position within a growing company and dedicate my talent, time, and passion to someone else's bottom line? There are a few answers to why intrepreneurship seemed more appealing.
Own Your Work
1. It doesn't matter who owns the building. If my name appears on the work, it will be done 100 percent. Call it ego, call it responsibility. Whatever you want to call it, intrepreneurs take ownership of anything that reflects their abilities. Intrepreneurs also celebrate team wins as well as individual wins. Their work allows the company they work for to improve as a whole.
Take Risks and Still Receive Stable Income
2. The glamour of entrepreneurship leaves out the truth of how broke you are. The ups are very high, having hundreds of thousands of dollars in your bank account in your twenties, for example. Meanwhile, the downs are very low. You wind up skipping a paycheck for three months to pay your employees first. Your employees support their families with this income, so you keep them. Working for someone else means stability. Intrepreneurship allows you to take risks, innovate, and create without staying up all night or feeling depressed about the near negative balance in your bank account.
Build on a Company’s Existing Success
3. Think of business as a launchpad. Entrepreneurship presents the uphill battle of starting from the ground up, or what I like to call hopping on flat land. Starting with investors may feel like a trampoline, but every bounce involves a come down. By joining an accomplished business with measurable growth and success, the intrepreneur jumps from a much higher vantage point, reaching greater heights quicker and seeing the greater vision of where a company can go based on where it’s been.
Considering a New Route to Innovation
To recap, intrepreneurship can be a more rewarding route than entrepreneurship for innovators. For me, I saw greater opportunity to build off of what others already built. If you take an intrepreneur’s mindset and energy with you to a company, and they support it, you’re going to find a golden mecca where stability meets creativity and growth meets opportunity. Just be sure to pay respect to those who put their blood and sweat into this before you – they are the reason you have this opportunity to begin with.
Does your business instigate and nurture the intrepreneurial mindset? Stay tuned for more on this in my next post!