Our smart phones can simplify our lives, and can also lead to us feeling pressured and never being “off duty”.  If your smart phone is like mine, it sounds to let you know you have received an email or text, and very often we check our phones almost compulsively. Part of why we may feel overwhelmed by this constant stream of data is that we check our phones whenever they demand it, and frequently when we choose to.  Psychologist B.F. Skinner discovered that he could train pigeons to peck levers to release food pellets.  He also discovered that when a pigeon didn’t always get a food pellet, from pecking the lever, that the pigeon would peck more.  What that means to us is that when we constantly check our phones there will be some times when we do have a text/email- we are being like the pigeon who doesn’t get rewarded every time for pecking and so we check more frequently, just in case. By limiting how frequently you check your phone you will be able to wean yourself from the constant checking, as you will be more likely to get the “food pellet” or a message when you do.  Perhaps checking your phone at set times (9am, 2pm, 5pm) would be more useful, or perhaps not checking your phone until you have completed a task such as doing an hours work or taking the kids to school.

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