Why My Phone Is Always Distracting Me?

Why My Phone Is Always Distracting Me?

Published on Jan 8, 2024

Published on Jan 8, 2024

Published on Jan 8, 2024

You're determined to work, with a pile of documents to process and reports to write, and yet... you end up scrolling tirelessly on your phone. But how come? Why am I distracted all the time, and why can't I resist? It's not your fault - well, not really.

The human brain is a complex and, above all, imperfect organ. In this article, we explain why you're constantly falling victim to your phone and how to FINALLY get the upper hand.

"COS" or Cognitive Overflow Syndrome

Cognitive Overflow Syndrome is the feeling of having too many demands, no time, a ton of things to do, and the feeling of not being able to find your way around. Well, you're not alone! In reality, what's happening is that in this kind of situation, we're simply "navigating" through cognitive attractors.

"On a desk, for example, we have several well-known cognitive attractors: the computer, the stack of paper, the telephone, etc. All these elements are stimuli for carrying out certain tasks. The trouble with all this is that our brain can't really sort and prioritize these elements; for it, ALL are important, and every activity that can be performed by each attractor equally so. Our brains will then see all these elements as a "Gestalt of activity" - an organized whole, but perceived as a sum.

How a Cognitive Attractor Works

The problem with cognitive attractors is that they are very difficult to resist. And for a good reason, the strength of an attractor is the combination of three factors:

  • Its prominence: its capacity to impose itself on the individual's attention.

  • Its cost: The amount of effort the individual expects to make.

  • Its value: The gain or loss the individual expects to obtain.

Having trouble understanding? Here's a simple example: You're sitting at your desk, working on an important document. The deadline is imminent; you need to process this document. Your phone vibrates, a notification of a new message appears. The most important thing is no longer the document; it's the phone, it's even that message. What does it contain? Who is it from? What does he want? Is it urgent? Should I answer? Well, the best way to find out is to look at it, and then it's just a little message... It's not much. You look at this message. And before you know it, you'll come across another message, then an e-mail, and now that you've got the phone in your hand, why don't you check out Instagram? And one thing leading to another, you've drifted, and all these cognitive attractors have led you to a chain of actions that weren't really your initial intention.

The Problem With All This

The trouble with all this is that you think you can just go back to what you were doing. Well, sorry to disappoint you, but no. Our brains aren't capable of processing 30 different pieces of information simultaneously - you thought they were? You're wrong; it's a bias. Yes, it's a cognitive bias that makes you think you can do everything, but you can't.

Scientifically speaking, our brains can't handle that much information. What happens is that it simply "overwrites" past information with new information. So when you were working on your file, it was 100% focused on that. And the phone, arriving spontaneously, took up that memory space and overwrote his information with new elements - which surely had nothing to do. Which leads us to the mythical phrase "Where was I?"

And this phenomenon has a name: the precrastination, the art of "Precrastination, a tendency to work on tasks at the first opportunity, even if it means more work or additional costs" - Doctor David Rosenbaum.

You're determined to work, with a pile of documents to process and reports to write, and yet... you end up scrolling tirelessly on your phone. But how come? Why am I distracted all the time, and why can't I resist? It's not your fault - well, not really.

The human brain is a complex and, above all, imperfect organ. In this article, we explain why you're constantly falling victim to your phone and how to FINALLY get the upper hand.

"COS" or Cognitive Overflow Syndrome

Cognitive Overflow Syndrome is the feeling of having too many demands, no time, a ton of things to do, and the feeling of not being able to find your way around. Well, you're not alone! In reality, what's happening is that in this kind of situation, we're simply "navigating" through cognitive attractors.

"On a desk, for example, we have several well-known cognitive attractors: the computer, the stack of paper, the telephone, etc. All these elements are stimuli for carrying out certain tasks. The trouble with all this is that our brain can't really sort and prioritize these elements; for it, ALL are important, and every activity that can be performed by each attractor equally so. Our brains will then see all these elements as a "Gestalt of activity" - an organized whole, but perceived as a sum.

How a Cognitive Attractor Works

The problem with cognitive attractors is that they are very difficult to resist. And for a good reason, the strength of an attractor is the combination of three factors:

  • Its prominence: its capacity to impose itself on the individual's attention.

  • Its cost: The amount of effort the individual expects to make.

  • Its value: The gain or loss the individual expects to obtain.

Having trouble understanding? Here's a simple example: You're sitting at your desk, working on an important document. The deadline is imminent; you need to process this document. Your phone vibrates, a notification of a new message appears. The most important thing is no longer the document; it's the phone, it's even that message. What does it contain? Who is it from? What does he want? Is it urgent? Should I answer? Well, the best way to find out is to look at it, and then it's just a little message... It's not much. You look at this message. And before you know it, you'll come across another message, then an e-mail, and now that you've got the phone in your hand, why don't you check out Instagram? And one thing leading to another, you've drifted, and all these cognitive attractors have led you to a chain of actions that weren't really your initial intention.

The Problem With All This

The trouble with all this is that you think you can just go back to what you were doing. Well, sorry to disappoint you, but no. Our brains aren't capable of processing 30 different pieces of information simultaneously - you thought they were? You're wrong; it's a bias. Yes, it's a cognitive bias that makes you think you can do everything, but you can't.

Scientifically speaking, our brains can't handle that much information. What happens is that it simply "overwrites" past information with new information. So when you were working on your file, it was 100% focused on that. And the phone, arriving spontaneously, took up that memory space and overwrote his information with new elements - which surely had nothing to do. Which leads us to the mythical phrase "Where was I?"

And this phenomenon has a name: the precrastination, the art of "Precrastination, a tendency to work on tasks at the first opportunity, even if it means more work or additional costs" - Doctor David Rosenbaum.

better

made simple.

Sleep

Focus

Screen Time

better

made simple.

Sleep

Focus

Screen Time

better

made simple.

Sleep

Focus

Screen Time

How to Avoid Ending up On Your Phone?

After the theory, comes the practice. As always, we'll do our utmost to enlighten you and, above all, ensure that you leave with as many useful tips as possible! So let's get practical!

🧹 Declutter Your Space

The first tip, which may seem obvious, is to keep your workspace as minimalist as possible. In short, avoid adding elements that could disturb you, whether interactive or purely decorative. Your phone can be just as distracting as the family photo on your desk. You may not realize it, but it makes you think of your loved ones, and so you think, "What's for dinner tonight? Did Dimitri bring his swimming gear today?"

🦋 Prevent Flutter

Unsurprisingly, when you think of fluttering, you think of procrastination. Fluttering is wanting to do lots of things at the same time, lots of little things that are a bit insignificant but which we feel prevent us from "doing our work properly". Once again, it's a cognitive bias! In reality, by dealing with all these micro-tasks, you're not freeing up attention or time at all; you're just overloading your mind. So learn to segment each action properly, to avoid dispersion. Work in batches.

🏁 Take the Time to Get to the End

The trouble is, we sometimes do a lot of things quickly, "just like that." But often, they come back to haunt us: the forgotten attachment, a missing piece of info, a mistake that needs correcting. Yes, you've gone too fast! Instead of trying to do everything quickly, take the time to do it WELL, and in one go.

🔒 Block Distractions

Okay, that's enough of those annoying messages and notifications. Block them while you're working! This will prevent you from getting lost on your phone. These days, companies are most interested in your time and attention, so they're not going to leave you alone. So take control before they decide your life.

Download the Jomo app, free on the App Store. Available on iPhone and Mac, it lets you temporarily block the applications and websites that distract you most. And if you need to know more before getting started, we'll explain in detail how it works!

-

Your brain, your time, and your attention are precious resources. Make sure you protect them from distractions and reduce cognitive attractors to FINALLY be able to resist multiple distractions. And if you need a helping hand, download the free Jomo app!

🔗 Sources
📌 Credits
  • Illustrations by Jomo | Photography Unsplash

Tinder

Medium

Headsp…

TikTok

Facebook

X

Twitch

Find your Jomo

Use your phone for things you truly care about and happily miss out on everything else.

Tinder

Medium

Headsp…

TikTok

Facebook

X

Twitch

Find your Jomo

Use your phone for things you truly care about and happily miss out on everything else.

Tinder

Medium

Headsp…

TikTok

Facebook

X

Twitch

Find your Jomo

Use your phone for things you truly care about and happily miss out on everything else.

Find your Jomo

Use your phone for things you truly care about and happily miss out on everything else.