These days it can be hard to run a business, or it may feel hard to have a social life, without participating in social media. I know I use it regularly to share the power of Functional Medicine in hopes of helping others heal and it allows me to reach a great number of people at once.
This is an important distinction that I came to understand with my guest on this week’s episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, Cal Newport. Using social media all day every day to feel connected, or simply stay distracted, is quite the opposite of using it to serve your passions and values on a smaller scale.
Cal is an expert in the field of technology and its effects on culture, that is, how it impacts us all in ways much greater than we realize. Throughout this episode, we talk about the health consequences associated with increased social media use (loneliness, anxiety, depression) as well as the negative effects on our ability to work.
Did you know there is no such thing as multitasking? Humans simply aren’t capable of it, and every time we check another app in the midst of a project we set ourselves further and further behind, decreasing our ability to fully focus on the project at hand. This “attention residue” is hurting our productivity on a large scale, despite the innovations in technology meant to support it.
Cal shares why this can be such a hard cycle to break, due to the addictive nature of social media, and how we can still utilize certain types of technology but do so in an intentional way. He has never had a social media account and still manages to be happy in his personal life and very successful in his career—which he attributes to his ability to do deep work through intense focus and being able to successfully separate work from downtime.
This episode will really get you thinking about your relationship to technology and understanding how to change that dynamic for the better. Cal doesn’t recommend a digital detox because it’s easy to get right back to the same habits; instead he promotes a philosophy of digital minimalism. You can hear all of his tips for how to do this right here. I hope you’ll listen in.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD