One of the biggest challenges I face in being productive each day is the dizzying array of distractions that exist on the computer or on my phone. We live in interesting times given just how many distractions are seconds from our eyeballs at any point.
This can easily eat into your productivity if you aren’t careful. Even though I actively work on avoiding these distractions, they can still sap at least an hour from my day.
Of course, we aren’t meant to be robots, and some amount of mindless entertainment is inevitable and healthy. But as we’ve noted before with other vices like alcohol, smoking, and more, keeping them in check is essential in order to ensure they never become a problem.
And our distractive tech can easily reach that point. Whether it is gaming, social media, podcasts, or YouTube & Netflix, they are all highly engineered to capture your attention. They are engineered to be addictive.
Tristan Harris has been one of the few people from Silicon Valley speaking up against the rise of addictive technology after working in the industry for years. He lays out the incentives pretty clearly: an ad-driven internet economy prioritizes attention and converts it to profit. As such, there’s an arms race for your attention, and the addictive approaches that resemble those used by casinos are the approach du jour for getting people hooked.
But we can combat this system, and you’ll need to if you are trying to accomplish big things in your life. You need to setup a system that counterbalances the pull of addictive technologies. And the best way to do that is now coming into focus: you need to leverage these gamification mechanics for yourself.
That’s largely what we built WeAchieve to do, for both ourselves and others: a way to create your own game to help you focus on the things that matter to you. If you want to prioritize time with family, regular exercise, and writing, it’s easy to setup weekly targets for all three of those. As we’ve also covered, we use an average streak metric to summarize how well you are doing across all your goals, and have streak medals that help incentivize you to keep up with your goals in the long run.
By giving yourself tiny rewards for doing the things that matter to you, it can help you combat the allure of “just a couple minutes” on social media, or a bit more scrolling through your phone, or one more episode of that TV show.
We’re too far down the road of the attention economy to go backward: the demands on your focus will continue to increase. What we, as everyday humans, need to combat that is a new class of tools to put the power back in our hands. That’s what we’re here to do, and we hope you can join us on that journey!