THE BLOG

Don't Press the Button: The Problem With Email and What to Do About It

05/18/2015 11:46 am ET | Updated May 18, 2016

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Every time your phone dings, your brain jumps into action.

DING - what does it say?
DING - is it about me?
DING - could it be important?

With each ding come exciting possibilities and a little shot dopamine until before long you become conditioned.

Over time we slowly train ourselves to hit the button, hoping to get a reward. And even though 90 percent of the time we get crap, still we hit the button, hit the button, hit the button.

Then what do we do? We get fed up and remove the button. We filter our emails. We uninstall all our apps. We take short-lived hiatuses from Facebook. But it doesn't really fix anything.

The problem isn't with the button, the phone, or the application.

The problem is desire.

Emails, texts, and alerts feed your desire to be important, to be loved, and to get good news. It won't go away if you just stop hitting the button. Instead, you have to learn rewire the whole damn system.

Avoiding Facebook, setting email filters, and simplifying your data is great, but what if you did more? What if you actively pursued something important? Something satisfying?

What if you picked up the phone and asked someone you loved what they appreciate about you? What they like about you? What they enjoy about your relationship? And when they finished you told them what you liked about them in return?

Email addiction isn't about the button or the phone. It's about desire.

Pretty soon you might realize that the button on your phone isn't the one you should be pressing.

This post was originally posted on MindFitMove